Early Settlers

Daniel Lathrop Coit

Daniel Lathrop Coit, a well-to-do merchant in Norwich, Connecticut, was one of the 58 original investors in the Connecticut Land Company that purchased land in Ohio known as New Connecticut. A fellow investor was Samuel Mather Jr. Daniel spent much of his time in an attempt to colonize and settle in that territory. The name “New Connecticut” was discarded a year later in favor of the name “Western Reserve.”

In 1801, a 47-year-old Daniel set out in on what would be the first of five trips to the Western Reserve so that he might be fully informed. His 700-mile journey on horseback through the mountains of Pennsylvania was not without peril. A letter to his wife stated, “We have taken possession of the ‘Land of Canaan.’ The worst Hittites and Jebusites are the woods and forests to be cleared – no wolves, bears or rattlesnakes.”

In 1826, Daniel, accompanied by his wife, made another journey from New York to Cleaveland by steamboat and the recently constructed Erie Canal.    

Daniel Coit was born on September 20, 1754, in New London, Connecticut, to Dr. Joseph and Lydia Coit. He came to Norwich, Connecticut, to serve an apprenticeship with his uncles and brother. He eventually took over their business of the importation and sale of drugs.

Daniel married Elizabeth Bill in New London, Connecticut, on November 23, 1786. She was the daughter of Captain Ephraim and Lydia Bill. They had six children: Daniel born on November 24, 1787, Lydia (Kingsley)born on August 25, 1789, Henry born on June 17, 1791, Maria (Perit) born on June 13, 1793, Eliza (Gilman) born on August 23, 1796, and Joshua born on August 23, 1800.

In 1801, he went to New York City to engage in trade with his brother-in-law. He later returned to Norwich, where he remained for the remainder of his life.

Daniel died on November 27, 1833. Elizabeth died in New York City on March 8, 1846. Both are buried in Old Norwich Cemetery in Norwich, Connecticut.