TABLE OF CONTENTS
RG 062:065, Town of Hartland
Inventory of Records
Finding aid prepared by Barbara Austen and Bruce P. Stark.
Copyright © 2007 by the Connecticut State Library
In 1687, the General Assembly granted Hartford and Windsor additional land in the northern section of the colony, part of which became Hartland. The town is located on the northern border of the state between Granby and Colebrook. The first permanent settler was Thomas Giddings of Lyme who arrived in June 1757. Residents petitioned the General Assembly and the legislature incorporated the town in May 1761.
A deep valley through the middle of the town divides the area into two halves. The East or First Society was established in 1768, and the West or Second Society was established in 1780. For a number of years, town meetings alternated between the meetinghouses of the two until a town hall was built in the geographic center.
Residents earned their living primarily through agriculture although the land was hilly and of poor quality. The main crops were tobacco, grain, and livestock. Hartland also had its share of mills, including grist, saw and fulling mills, supplemented by tanneries and wagon making. An early 19th century print works was converted to a paper mill in 1874. Agriculture remains the primary industry in the 21st century along with the manufacture of wooden products.
The collection appears to have been inventoried in 1932 and in 1936. 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 general organization and divided the materials into ten Series.
The first Series, Administrative Records, 1777-1979, includes one folder of records of the proprietors' division of land, 1780, 1787; notices and minutes of town meetings, 1796-1911; town votes related to proposed amendments to the state constitution, 1818-1911; town officers' oaths of office, resignation and appointments, 1837-1911; appointments of overseers who advised, directed and ordered individuals in the "management of their concerns", 1807-1852; and apprenticeship agreements, 1824-1861. In the latter group of documents is an indenture for a resident of the Hartford Orphan Asylum, 1844. These records are arranged by subject and then chronologically.
Of particular note among the administrative records are documents that illustrate the selectmen's powers in managing land. They designated parcels of land for a pound in 1869 and for a cemetery. They also established the boundaries of the school districts between 1861-1870 and in 1901. Records of roads and highways, 1782-1911, consist of assessments for road repairs, complaints about poorly maintained roads, surveys, and a notice of the discontinuation of a highway.
The most recent records in this collection relate to the application for and administration of a federal grant program, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA). These records, dating from 1975-1979, consist of memoranda and correspondence with the State Labor Department, grant approvals and agreements, audits, invoices from the town, quarterly earnings reports, and final reports.
Three folders of Poor Relief Records, 1787-1911, comprise Series 2. They consist of residency certificates, notices of Board of Relief meetings, a receipt to the town for paying to support a pauper in prison, 1821, and several documents directing the constable to warn non-residents out of town. One of those warned out was a black man and his wife.
Surveys of property, highways, fence lines and town borders and a large selection of deeds constitute the Land Records in Series 3. The deeds date from 1759-1901. Among the deeds is what has been previously labeled "selectmen's deeds". These are deeds between residents and the town, usually for small portions of land needed for laying out a highway. They range in date from 1783-1788.
The largest group of records is organized in Series 4. Court and Justice of the Peace Records, 1767-1911. Included are appointments of Justices of the Peace, 1832-1850, and 1897; lists of Justices, 1883-97; and the appointment or election of jurors, 1818-93. Justice Files, 1770-1911, comprise the bulk of the remaining records. These files have been chronologically, although for some years beginning in 1800 the files are alphabetically and then chronologically arranged. The justice files include cases brought before the town or justice court, the Court of Common Pleas or the County Court, and the Superior Court for Hartford County. They provide a fascinating insight into interpersonal relationships among the residents of Hartland and are of interest to anyone studying local history. They are useful to genealogists and those studying such subjects as crime, economic history, family history, legal practices, social history, and women's history.
The justice court records consist of writs or summonses that name plaintiff and defendant, describe the offense, specify the date the two parties are to appear, and the name of the justice of the peace trying the case. The files also often include depositions by third parties or testimonies by parties in the case, short reports on pleading, information on the settlement of cases, and a total of court expenses.
Most of the cases involve the settlement of debts by note or by book. Debts by note revolve around promissory notes by which one party agrees to pay money or provide a service to the other party, while book debts consist of debts of money owed to plaintiffs for good purchased but not paid for. A wide variety of other subjects are dealt with in justice court records, from adultery and fornication to theft and trespass. The first case in the justice files concerns an assault made in 1770 on the body of Cato, "A Negro man Servant," by James Welden of Windsor. A sampling of other cases follows. On September 8, 1794, Jeremiah Wilcox was charged with adultery. Specifically, Wilcox, "being a married Man, did unlawfully get into Bed with Elisabeth, Wife of O[w]en Ruick of said Hartland … in a lasivious & unlawfull & indecent Manner." ." In 1798, the State sued seven prominent citizens of Litchfield County and Hartland to collect $120,000. . In 1808, Louis Standly was charged with profane swearing for called, "Earl Standly … a god damed Lyar." ." The files also contain a number of cases of trespass. In a typical one in 1796, Isaac Meacham accused Uriah Church and Uriah Church, Jr. of tearing down and carrying away the plaintiff's fence. The papers also include several cases of breach of Sabbath. In 1826, eight years after the adoption of the Constitution of 1818 that separated church and state, three young men were accused of that crime for laughing, playing with a pair of broken glasses, and in so behaving "willfully disturbed the Congregation." Justice court records fill seven and one half boxes of Hartland Town Records and are a rich source of documentation for anyone study local history."
Series 5. Military Records, 1779-1910; Series 6, Vital Records, 1837-1901; Series 7. Church Records, 1869; and Series 8. Church Records, 1869 fill less than one half of one box of the records and contain little of substance. Probably the most important grouping is two folders of sexton reports of burials, removals, and disinterment, covering some of the years between 1885 and 1901.
Election Records, 1801-1918, in Series 9 include admission of freemen, admission of voters, lists and certificates of electors, and election returns. Election Returns, 1801-1911, primarily consist of returns of votes for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of the state, comptroller, treasurer, U. S. Congress, presidential electors, state senator, and county sheriff. They demonstrate that Hartland was a Federalist town until after the end of the War of 1812, a Democratic town for most of the 19th century, and a Republican town by the beginning of the 20th century.
The final Series is Tax Records, 1779-1911 and includes tax abstracts, military exemptions, abatement records, rate books, grand lists, and individual tax lists. The largest series in the collection, researchers will find tax abstracts for the First (East) Society, 1802-49, and Second (West) Society, 1805-50, and five and one half boxes of individual tax lists, 1856-1909, particularly useful. The tax abstracts and individual tax lists provide a great deal of information on the real and personal property owned by heads of households. The tax abstracts, for example, list polls (males aged 16-70 per household); totals for oxen, cows, horses, and sheep; the amount of plow land, mowing land, pasture, and wild land, and information on such other taxable items as watches, brass clocks, wooden clocks, and quality of housing. Individual tax lists provide even more detail. In addition to listings for dwelling houses, land, horses, oxen, cows, sheep, swine and poultry, individuals could be taxed for owning stores, mills, manufactories, plus for owning stock in a variety of ventures, investment in manufacturing operations and
commerce, and money loaned at interest. For those interested in economic trends and in family genealogy, individual tax lists are an invaluable resource. The records for the town of Hartland conclude with three boxes of Oversize materials and one of Restricted records.
Series 1. Administrative Records (1777-1979)include selectmen's records, including minutes of town meetings, indentures, financial records, correspondence and CETA grant files.
Series 2. Poor Relief Records (1787-1911) include residency certificates, notices of Board of Relief meetings, warning non-residents out of town.
Series 3. Land Records (1759-1911) include deeds and boundary and road surveys.
Series 4. Court and Justice of the Peace Records (1767-1911) include appointments of justices, writs, summonses, confessed judgments, and probate records.
Series 5. Military Records (1779-1910) include lists of enlisted men, lists of families, and medical exemptions.
Series 6. Vital Records (1837-1901) include sextons' monthly reports of burials, removals and disinterments.
Series 7. School Records (1864)include school returns.
Series 8. Church Records (1869) include minutes of meeting of Methodist Episcopal Church.
Series 9. Election Records (1801-1911) include lists of electors, freemen's oaths, vote returns and votes related to the State Constitution. 1.2 cf.
Series 10. Tax Records (1779-1911) include rate books, abstracts, abatements, and individual tax lists.
Restrictions on Access
Some records are restricted because they mention African-Americans. Copies of these documents replace the originals, which are housed separately. Copies also mark the location of oversized items.
These records are stored at an off-site facility and therefore may not be available on a same-day basis.
Restrictions on Use
See the Reproduction and Publications of State Library Collections policy.
Additional primary materials relating to Hartland can be found in the classified archives 974.62 H26. Specific records from this collection that complement those described in the container list are noted under the appropriate Series. The classified archives include church and school records, a sermon, vital records, maps, and account books kept by Hartland citizens. A volume of extracts from Hartland Revolutionary War records, 1774-1784, is cataloged at 973.3 R326h.
The library of the Hartland Historical Society also holds a sizeable collection of primary documents including business ledgers and daybooks, diaries, correspondence between residents some of whom were part of the movement to Ohio, scrapbooks, photographs and maps.
Researchers may also wish to consult volume 2 of the Memorial History of Hartford County, Connecticut, 1633-1884, edited by J. Hammond Trumbull (Boston: Edward L. Osgood, 1886).
Connecticut. Justice of the Peace (Hartland)
Deeds -- Connecticut -- Hartland
Elections -- Connecticut -- Hartland -- Statistics
Justices of the peace -- Connecticut -- Hartland
Local taxation -- Connecticut -- Hartland -- Registers
Probate records -- Connecticut -- Hartland
Property tax -- Connecticut -- Hartland -- Registers
Public welfare -- Connecticut -- Hartland
School enrollment -- Connecticut -- Hartland -- Statistics
Soldiers -- Connecticut -- Hartland
Tax assessment -- Connecticut -- Hartland -- Registers
Taxation -- Connecticut -- Hartland -- Registers
Voting -- Connecticut -- Hartland -- Statistics
Voting registers -- Connecticut -- Hartland
Writs -- Connecticut -- Hartland
Hartland (Conn.) -- Records and correspondence
Hartland (Conn.) -- Statistics, Vital
Civil court records
David N. Gaines gave these records to the Connecticut State Library between 1910 and 1930. The CETA records were donated in 1985.