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William S. Goslee papers

Identifier: RG069_024

Scope and Content

The collection is arranged into five series: Legal Papers, Personal Papers, Glastonbury Records, Genealogy, and Sumner's Personal Papers.

Series 1. Legal Papers, 1850-1892, contains records pertaining to Goslee's position as a lawyer. These records include any legal correspondence between him and his clients, war pension claims, and records of specific court cases, as well as journals of his notes on legal matters.

Series 2. Personal Papers, 1856-1892, contains records of a personal nature. These records include personal correspondence between friends and family, receipts, speeches and orations, political papers, published work, drawing and notes, and a record of the town of Suffield.

Series 3. Genealogy Papers, circa 1850-1890, contains records of the genealogy of the Goslee and Sumner families, as well as correspondence pertaining to their family's genealogy and that of others. Also included are locks of hair from several members of the Sumner family. There is a genealogy chart in an oversize folder.

Series 4. George O. Sumner Papers, 1815-1853, contains records from George O. Sumner, including personal correspondence and documentation regarding a case of slander, known as Sumner v. Utley. There are three newspapers, with legal notices regarding the case in an oversize folder.

Series 5. Glastonbury Records, 1821-1892, contains records of the town of Glastonbury. These papers include town records regarding censuses, its library, taxes, dog owners, and school district surveys. Also included are the records of the Glastonbury Academy and the Church of Glastonbury. The records of the Glastonbury Academy consist of term records, tuition receipts, and lists of library books. The bulk of the records from the Church of Glastonbury are receipts from 1880-1886.


  • 1815-1892

Language of Materials

The records are in English.

Restrictions on Access

Oversize items 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.

Biographical Note

William S. Goslee was a lawyer for the town of Glastonbury, Connecticut. He was born on August 15, 1832 to James Goslee and Polly Sumner Goslee. He was the oldest of five children. During the Civil War he was drafted for service but due to some measure of deafness he did not serve. He attended school at the Glastonbury Academy but then continued his education for a brief time in the Williston Academy in East Hampton, Massachusetts, and Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts. He studied law under Judge Loren P. Waldo of Tolland, was admitted to the bar in 1857, and then returned to Glastonbury to establish a general law practice. He eventually became particularly interested in the branch of law pertaining to the powers and duties of the town. William Goslee handled mainly estates, foreclosures, war pension claims, and breach of contract cases. One of his most noted cases is Wethersfield v. Glastonbury, a dispute over town lines and taxation rights that went all the way to the Connecticut Supreme Court in 1873. He married Mary Teresa Storrs on October 30, 1861, and they had one child together, Henry Storrs Goslee on September 12, 1872.

William Goslee was also extremely active within the town of Glastonbury. He was on the Board of Trustees for the Glastonbury Academy, a secondary school. It is where he sent his own son, Henry Goslee, to school. William also served as Financial Trustee for the Church of Glastonbury from 1880 to around 1892. He also had a vested interest in politics. He became a clerk for the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1858 and was elected to the Connecticut State Senate in 1870.

William S Goslee was a man of vast literary tastes, and was reported to have one of the finest libraries in all of Glastonbury. He was also an amateur genealogist. It is possible that it was his Uncle George O. Sumner who got him interested in genealogy, but what is clear is that the two of them researched both the Goslee and Sumner family's genealogy throughout their lifetimes. George O. Sumner was a doctor, who lived in several Connecticut towns during his lifetime. He lived in Lyme, Groton, New Haven, and lastly Coventry until his death on November 24, 1877. As made obvious by his numerous revisions to his last Will and Testament, he was ill, off and on, for at least the latter 25 years of his life. Due to his illness, William S. Goslee helped him financially for the latter part of his life. Upon his death, William S. Goslee handled Sumner's estate.

At the time of Goslee's death he was in the mist of compiling a history of Glastonbury, but unfortunately the manuscript was lost. William S. Goslee died March 31, 1892 at his home in Glastonbury; he was survived by his wife and son.


3.75 cubic feet


The papers consist of materials pertaining to William S. Goslee's legal and personal affairs. Goslee was a lawyer for the town of Glastonbury and was active in town politics, church and school issues.


Series 1. Legal Papers, 1850-1892, correspondence arranged chronologically; legal documents and war pension claims are arranged alphabetical by claimant; and cases arranged alphabetically by title.

Series 2. Personal Papers, 1856-1892, arranged chronologically.

Series 3. Genealogy Papers, circa 1850-1890, arranged chronologically.

Series 4. George O. Sumner Papers, 1815-1853, arranged chronologically.

Series 5. Glastonbury Records, 1821-1892, arranged chronologically.

Acquisition Information

The collection was received by an unknown donor around 1930.

Related Material

RG 069:083, Goslee Family Papers, 1795-1905, Connecticut State Library.

Processing Information

Donna C. Marchessault, a student intern from the graduate program of Library and Information Science at Simmons, in Boston MA, processed the collection in February-April, 2015.

RG 069:024, William S. Goslee Papers
Finding aid prepared by Donna C. Marchessault.
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Connecticut State Library Repository