Introducing “Aunt Ella” Sargent

Ella Sargent (1855-1940) lived most of her life in the same Norford Lake home until she moved in with a niece the last 9 years of her life. Her farm, which is no longer standing, was in the New Boston area of Norwich. Her father Daniel was a farmer, and after he died in 1894 Ella and her mother Lodisa carried on working the farm until Lodisa’s death in 1904. From then on Ella, known around Norwich as “Aunt Ella”, was on her own managing the farm property.


In her late teens Ella started keeping a daily diary, which she continued into her sixties. Fortunately, most of her diaries were given to the Norwich Historical Society. Over this past year, our volunteers have been transcribing many of the diaries as a pandemic project.

In the coming year we will present bi-monthly tidbits from Ella’s diaries, using her authentic voice. It should be noted that Ella seldom used periods, capitalized randomly, misused grammar and seldom doubled consonants. She moped the floor, stired the cream, or commented on the mugy weather. We hope you will enjoy these glimpses of a woman’s life on a Norwich farm over a hundred years ago.

Written by Heidi Webster. Transcriptions by Judy Brown, Bambi Chapman, MJ Clark, Becky Cook, Elizabeth Nelson, Nancy Osgood, and Heidi Webster.