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Resources for studying African-American Heritage at the CT State Library

Archival Genealogy Collections Colonial era

Research into Connecticut's early history and people would not be complete without consulting a unique collection known as the "Connecticut Archives", 1629-1820. The "Connecticut Archives" are the papers and correspondence of the General Assembly, the Governor and Council, and other colony or state officials. They are arranged into 27 broad subject areas and then arranged mostly chronologically. The indexes are available online in pdf form. Microfilm of the original records is available through inter-library loan; the call number for the film is F 91 .C65, then which subject and series. Below are listed some examples of index entries from some of the series in the Connecticut Archives which may be of interest to those studying African-American history:

Crimes and Misdemeanors, 1662-1789.

Divorce:  Hannah, Negro, petition for divorce from Cyrus on the grounds of adultery, 1726,  Volume III, doc. 327

Negroes: York, servant of Samuel Bliss, Norwich, tried for taking swine, 1727.  Volume III, doc. 88-91

Ecclesiastical Affairs, 1658-1789.

Negro servants of Joseph Buckingham to be freed by his will, 1760.  Volume XII, doc. 189a, 190a, 19l

Slavery:  Petitions of Samuel Morris of Killingly for five hundred pounds for support of slave left on his father’s hands, Dec. 1750.    Volume IX, doc. 37

Indians, Series II, 1666-1820

Negroes:  Petition of Benoni Occum and others of the Mohegan Tribe showing  that they do not  want Negroes or any miscellaneous races to have any of their lands, Volume 1, doc. 86

Insolvent Debtors, Series II, 1750-1820.

Negroes:  Caesar, Negro fugitive, Hermitage, New York, advertised in Connecticut Gazette, October 5, 1787.  Volume IX, doc. 4g

Pomp, Negro, East Hartford, creditor of William Moore, 1798.  Volume VIII,  doc. l0l c, h, i, L

Slavery:  Petition of William Ryan of New London showing that he was a seafaring  man and  acquired considerable property..., Apr.-May 1793.  Volume X, doc. 135

Miscellaneous Papers.

Duce, Hannah, negro slave of Thomas Richards, question of slavery of her child  Abda, whom she claimed was son of John Gennings, a white man, 1702/3.  Volume II, doc. 14, 21a, c

Filly, slave, deed of manumission from Wareham & Elizabeth Mather, New Haven, Feb. 1743/4. Volume II, doc. 76d, 78d, 79c, d

Revolutionary War, Series I, II, III.  Consists of military data and petitions concerning a variety of matters.  Historians estimate the number of black soldiers in this war to have been about 5,000 men, serving in militias, seagoing services, and support activities.  In some cases, slaves were offered their freedom in return for satisfactory completion of a set period of service.  Sample index entries are:

Africa.  Ruel, Negro, private, Wallingford, bounty.  Volume XXX, doc.144a

Black.  Caesar, alias Caesar Fidler, Wethersfield, death in army and petition by Daniel Buck,  administrator and former master of Caesar, showing there is a balance after settling estate....        Volume XXXVII, doc. 242-244

Caesar, negro, servant of Samuel Peters, Hebron, on evidence that he & wife, Lois, belonged to Peters estate, supported themselves without aid for 6 years until agents for managing the estate attempted to sell them & their children for the South & were rescued by Hebron neighbors from cruelty of traders, petition for   freedom, gr. Jan. 1789.  Volume XXXVII,   doc.       258-262.

Revolutionary War, Series I, II, III

Negro.  Abel, private, East Windsor, bounty.  Volume XXX, doc. 68b.

Timon, private, Wethersfield, Lexington Alarm, 1775.  Volume XIB, doc. 14c.

Slavery:  Austin, Joshua, New Haven, petition and officer’s certificate showing his Negro,  Brister, served 6 years and would be a fit subject for emancipation, Jan. 1784.  Volume XXXVII,   doc. 240

Western Lands, Series II, 1783-1819.

Negro free state.  Petition of Reuben Stevens with other free Negroes showing  that they wish to  move from Connecticut to the unsettled parts of another state  and form a settlement for themselves, families, and brethren now living in slavery  as fast as they are emancipated and  praying that the Assembly will purchase a township for them for which they will repay the state in about 10 years, 1776.  Doc. 57.

The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut
The Public Records of the State of Connecticut

Check the index at the end of each published volume.  Examples include:

Slaves, manumitted, when to be maintained by their Masters. Records of the Colony of Connecticut v. 5 (1706-1716), p. 233

Slave of J. Leaming emancipated. Records of the State of Connecticut, v. 2 (1776-1780), p. 427


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