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Town of Glastonbury records

Identifier: RG062_054

Scope and Content

Two people employed under the W.P.A. program arranged the records in groups of like material organized by date. The archivist has retained that rough organization and divided the materials into ten Series. Administrative records, 1762-1904, include minutes of town meetings, 1804-1818, 1822, 1829; petitions for town meetings, for building roads, and against a "taverner", 1824-1896; appointments of overseers, 1782-1842 who helped failing farmers become self-sustaining; contracts for building roads, 1825-1841, 1891-1904; and bills, receipts and accounts, 1806-1896. Selectmen's correspondence, 1824-1896, contains some letters regarding a ferry across the Connecticut River and some relating to care of the poor. Of particular note among the administrative records are votes relating to the State Constitutional Convention in 1818, and a contract for building a new Town House in 1840. Apprenticeship indentures, 1779-1822, include those in which the town bound out poor boys and girls, some to learn a trade and others to work as servants. Among the bills of sale are two documents, 1753, 1860, relating to the sale of interests in sailing vessels. There are also accounts of timber found or "taken afloat", 1818-1841.

From earliest settlement into the 19th century, New England towns refused to provide care for poor individuals who came from other municipalities. Travelers often carried a certificate indicating their residence. Poor individuals were auctioned to the lowest bidder who then contracted to care for these people, usually for a year at a time. These practices are documented in Series 2, Poor Relief Records, 1771-1791, 1839. In addition to the certificates and contracts, this series encompasses inventories of bedding and clothing of the poor, 1821-1838; correspondence with neighboring town governments, 1822-1829; and bills and accounts for keeping the poor, 1816-1824, 1896, including bills from the Hartford Manufacturing Company for fabric. Of note in these records are bills for digging a grave and building a coffin for Cato Ward, "Negro", in 1822.

Series 3 consists of land records, namely deeds, 1720-1901; boundary and road surveys, 1722-1826; and a ca. 1878 grantor index for land transactions between 1695-1878. Records of the county, state and local courts and of Justices of the Peace in Series 4 include General Assembly appointments of Justices, 1842-1847; and probate records from several estates handled by Attorney William Goslee. The bulk of the court records consist of justice files, which include writs that order the sheriff to attach an individual's goods or estate and/or summon a defendant to court, and "confest" judgments, 1730-1887. In a confessed judgment, a defendant agreed to the charge against him and made restitution without attending court. These documents are arranged by date of the judgment. The writs

were primarily issued in cases involving unpaid debts, but also include cases of assault, defamation, trespass, breach of contract, theft, shooting a hog, and support for a bastard child. A note about the hearing and the judgment for each case is usually found on the verso of the writ. For cases involving unpaid debts, the writs are often accompanied by the original promissory note signed by the defendant. Justice files are arranged by the date on the original writ or complaint with later documents following.

Law enforcement records in Series 5 consist of records of loose livestock, 1783-1816, which were reported to the constable. Men who served in the militia were often given an abatement on their taxes. Series 6 encompasses certificates proving military service that were sent to the tax assessor, lists of enlisted men, and certificates awarding a leave of absence, 1813-1825, 1841; an account for supplies, n.d.; lists of volunteers for 1863; and Caroline Wright's war claim, 1892. Certificates of military service can also be found among the tax records.

Marriage certificates written by the minister who conducted the ceremony, 1820-1855, are arranged in Series 7. Series 8, School Records, 1806-1909, includes financial records, calls for meetings, minutes, Board of School visitors' certifications, and bills for the South Glastonbury School Society, the Fourth School District, Sixth School District, and School District No. 2.

Voting Records, 1784-1890, in Series 9, include reports to the Secretary of the State on electors' votes for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of the State, Treasurer, Assistants, Jurymen, and members of Congress. Local elections documented in this series consist of Inspectors of Fish, Lumber and Flour; and nominations for men considered suitable to keep houses of entertainment. Results of the town's voting in the Presidential election of 1820 are included in these records. Several volumes listing the town's electors apparently maintained by attorney William S. Goslee, contained loose papers inside the front and back covers. These relate to his private law practice and to the activities of the town treasurer. They have been arranged in folders following the volumes in which they were found.

The final Series is comprised of tax records, the bulk of which are individual lists. These lists came bundled together and tied with string. The bundles did not appear to represent a different tax assessor or a different section of town, so for ease of use they were arranged by year and then alphabetically. The spelling of the last names changed. For example, Wier was also spelled Wire, but by 1865, it was consistently spelled Weir. A note of caution to researchers-sometimes an assessor used the same form for several years, particularly if a person's personal and real estate did not change. The latest year found on the form, often on the verso, was used as the date of record.

Additional records in this Series include lists of polls and minors, 1813-1818; rate books and assessors' lists, 1829-1885; abatements; and assessments for particular items such as carriages and on specific occupations including mechanics, physicians and attorneys, 1779-1838. Of particular interest are certificates obtained by members of "dissenting" churches to release them from having to pay taxes to support the Congregational minister, 1817-1819.


  • Creation: 1720-1909

Language of Materials

The records are in English.

Restrictions on Access

Some records are restricted because of their fragile condition. Copies of these documents replace the originals, which are housed separately. In addition, an apprenticeship indenture naming a "mulatto or Indian boy" has been copied and the original housed separately.

These records are stored at an off-site facility and therefore may not be available on a same-day basis.

See the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections policy.

Historical Note

The area of Connecticut known as Glastonbury was settled by members of a church from Watertown, Massachusetts, and originally formed part of Wethersfield. In 1690, Glastonbury petitioned the General Assembly to establish a separate community and a separate church Society. Incorporation occurred three years later, when the community settled a minister.

In the 18th century, Glastonbury was noted for its shipbuilding and its trade in lumber. Three streams-Salmon, Hubbard and Roaring Brook-powered saw mills that produced clapboards and pipe staves for export to New York, the southern colonies and the West Indies. Other industries located along those streams included iron foundries run by the Hunt, Hodge and Stevens families; brick manufactories; a glass works; a powder mill; and textile mills. The Hartford Manufacturing Company and Wassuc Co. produced cotton goods while Roaring Brook and Eagle Mills produced woolens. In the 1850s, the Curtis family established the Curtisville Company that produced silver-plated hollow ware. The majority of the 18th and 19th century residents made their living from farming. Between 1850 to 1900, Glastonbury's growth slowed considerably and it became a semi-rural agricultural community with a few sizeable industries. In the 21st century, the town is home to individuals who commute to Hartford and surrounding businesses. It is also noted for its variety of orchards and fruit farms.

In 1870, the residents voted to change the spelling of their town from Glastenbury to Glastonbury to emulate the English town of the same name.


27.5 cubic feet


Administrative, poor relief, land, court and justice of hte peace, law enforcement, military, vital, school, voting, and tax records.


Series 1. Administrative Records (1762-1904) contain selectmen's records, including minutes of town meetings, petitions, contracts, indentures, financial records and correspondence.

Series 2. Poor Relief Records (1771-1896) contain residency certificates, inventories of bedding and clothing of the poor, correspondence with neighboring town governments, and bills and accounts.

Series 3. Land Records (1720-1901) contain deeds, boundary and road surveys, and grantor index.

Series 4. Court and Justice of the Peace Records (1730-1891) contain appointments of justices, writs, summonses, confessed judgments, and probate records for estates handled by attorney William S. Goslee.

Series 5. Law Enforcement Records (1783-1816) contain records of lost livestock.

Series 6. Military Records (1813-1895) contain certificates of service, lists of enlisted men, leaves of absence certificates, an account for supplies, a list of volunteers for 1863, and widow's war claim.

Series 7. Vital Records (1820-1855) contain marriage certificates.

Series 8. School Records (1806-1909) contain financial records, calls for meetings, minutes, and Board of School Visitors' certifications.

Series 9. Voting Records (1784-1890) lists of electors, freemen's oaths, vote returns and votes related to the State Constitution.

Series 10. Tax Records (1779-1895) contain lists of polls and minors, certificates of church membership, rate books, abatements, special assessments, and individual tax lists. See container list.

Related Material

Additional primary materials relating to Glastonbury can be found in the classified archives 974.62 G46, and in Record Group 69, in Series 24, the Papers of William S. Goslee, 1815-1892, and in Series 83, Goslee Collection, 1795-1905. Specific records from these collections that complement those described in the container list are noted under the appropriate Series. The classified archives include church and school records, and account books kept by Glastonbury citizens. William Goslee's papers include court and estate papers, church records, materials concerning the boundary dispute between Wethersfield and Glastonbury, and records from his legal practice. The Goslee Collection contains financial records, deeds, court and estate papers, and correspondence. Descriptions of these materials can also be found in the collection file for Glastonbury.

The library of the Glastonbury Historical Society also holds a sizeable collection of primary documents including business ledgers related to shipbuilding and the merchant trade, whaling logs, diaries, poll and tax records, a large collection of photographs, and maps, including a 1776 map of New England.

Researchers may also wish to consult two published histories of the town: Glastonbury: From Settlement to Suburb, by Marjorie G. McNulty (Historical Society of Glastonbury, 1975), and Glastenbury for Two Hundred Years: a Centennial Discourse, May 18th 1853, by Alonzo B. Chapin (Hartford: Case, Tiffany & Co., 1853).

Glastonbury Records, Inventory of Town of
Inventory of Records
Finding aid prepared by Bruce P. Stark.
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Connecticut State Library Repository