TABLE OF CONTENTS
RG 069:053, Roswell Grant Papers
Finding aid prepared by Connecticut State Library staff.
Copyright © 2008 by the Connecticut State Library
Captain Ebenezer Grant was a direct descendant of Mathew Grant (1601-1681), the first person bearing the name Grant to settle in this country. After gaining his diploma from Yale on October 19, 1726, Ebenezer soon became a leading citizen in Old East Windsor, serving as clerk of the Congregational Church from 1733-1767, treasurer of the committee for the new church building, 1761, town surveyor, selectman, constable, grand juror and deputy sheriff. He served as Captain under the King during King George's War, in the French and Indian War, and against the King in the fight for Independence. Shortly after graduating from Yale, he started business in the West Indies trade, soon becoming the largest merchant in the area.
Ebenezer Grant at age 31 married Ann Elsworth (1712-1783), daughter of Lt. John Elsworth and Ester White Elsworth of Ellington, on November 10, 1737. "She was a noble spirited lady of good estate, and well known for her beneficient acts." Of their six children, only two survived childhood, Roswell (1746-1834) and Ann (1748-1838).
Ebenezer married again at age 78. This time to Mrs. Jemima Ellsworth (1721-1790), daughter of Joshua and Hannah Leavitt, the widow of David Ellsworth, on June 24, 1784.
Roswell attended the Nathaniel Williams School in Tolland and later matriculated at Yale, where he earned his B.A. in 1765. After graduating he became a partner in his father's merchant business. Enlisting as an Ensign in the Revolutionary War, he was chosen Captain in October, 1777, of the First Alarm Company of Militia in Nathaniel Terry's 19th Regiment. He served on many town committees and was clerk and treasurer of the Congregational Church, surveyor, Representative to the General Assembly for 8 years, U.S. Collector of Connecticut's 5th District, and treasurer of the town school committee. He was appointed Justice of the Peace for Hartford County by the General Assembly in May, 1791. As Justice, he heard legal cases, wrote wills, issued writs, judged misdemeanors, etc.
Roswell Grant was married at age 37 to Fluvia Wolcott (1754-1827), daughter of Gen. Erastus Wolcott and Jerusha Wolcott Wolcott. They had five children, Roswell Henry (1790-1836), Sidney Algernon (1792-1827), Paschal Winthrop (1793-1869), Frederick William (1797-1886), and Ann (1788-1851). All but the youngest son, Frederick William, moved to the midwest, but he stayed at the old homestead and assumed the monumental task of redeeming the property and paying off his father's accumulated debts.
This collection consists for the most part of papers accumulated by Roswell Grant (1745/6-1834) of East Windsor in his capacity of Justice of the Peace. It also includes materials relating to the town of East Windsor, to the school district, of which he was treasurer, and to the business carried on in East Windsor by his father, Ebenezer Grant (1708-1797), merchant, and other family members.
Series 1, Listed Papers, 1740-1899, contains papers that at some point were organized by subject and described at the item level. A list of documents is at the beginning of the series. Subjects represented include justice files, 1753-1840; land, 1740-1806; society accounts, 1791-1798; town accounts, 1793-1837; school accounts, 1743-1798, 1899; highways and bridges, 1796-1828; town poor, 1826-1838; strays, 1765-1816; church papers, 1761-1839; miscellany, 1782-1795; U.S. Revenue Collector accounts, 1800; West Indian trade and other shipping, 1736-1775; miscellaneous private accounts, 1741-1833; newspapers and Colebrook taxes, 1820-1842; probate, 1752-1862; letters and photographs, 1786-1874. Of the four photographs, one is identified as Sarah Spurr. The others are unidentified.
Series 2, Business and Legal Accounts, 1735-1886, includes account books of Ebenezer and Roswell Grant, 1743-1842; invoices, 1749-1831; bills and receipts, 1735-1886; and lists of materials ordered or shipped and other papers pertaining to the business affairs of Ebenezer Grant and Roswell Grant, 1740-1837. The account books consist of four volumes of accounts and day books probably kept by Ebenezer Grant. These provide an excellent overview of the trade carried on by a country merchant in the mid-eighteenth century. Volumes 1-2 hold accounts of Ebenezer Grant covering the years 1743-1754 and 1765-1768. Many people from East Windsor and environs are representing, including numerous Grants and several representatives of the powerful Wolcott clan. The entries are divided into two columns, the left listing goods purchased from Grant and the right holding the forms of payment. Volume 3, daybook, covers the years 1766-69 and consists of daily accounts of goods purchased in his store. The information sometimes corresponds directly with that found in Account Book 2. The items purchased consist of food and drink and a wide variety of dry goods. The goods for just three days in July 1767 include chocolate, cloth, coffee, a felt hat, glass, gloves, indigo, knives and forks, molasses, needles and pins, nutmegs, paper, pork, pepper, ribbon, rum, salt, and sugar (Box 3, Volume 3, 138-39). The extensive trade carried on by Grant is indicated by the fact that on July 17, 1767 he served eighteen different customers. Volume 4 consists of accounts of trade to the West Indies, Boston, and New York for the years 1768-1774, the goods consisting primarily of horses, other livestock, barreled fish and meat, and tobacco shipped on the sloop Ranger, brigantine Hartford, sloop Sally, and sloop Nancy. The bulk refer to the Ranger and the Nancy. Also included are some Revolutionary War accounts, including some to supply American troops.
Series 3, Justice of the Peace Papers, 1743-1842, include writs, executions and other papers concerned with actions handled by the Grants as Justices of the Peace. The majority are debt cases.
Series 4, Personal and Political Papers, 1754-1868, contains letters received by Roswell Grant and by other family members, 1785-1832, 1858-1868; East Windsor town papers including orders to pay for town expenses, 1821-1828, correspondence concerning paupers, 1829-1830, miscellaneous notes and receipts, 1796-1828, and voting records, 1797-1823; school district orders to pay, 1775-1800; First Society papers including list of parish notes, 1800, minutes of meetings, 1754-1767, and orders to pay, 1790-1828; drafts of documents and letters, 1805-1818; business papers of Peter and William Verstille, 1754-1802, that include notes, invoices, correspondence. Roswell Grant was executor of the estate of Peter Verstille, a Wethersfield merchant who died about 1779; a glossary of legal terms, circa 1815; and fragments and unidentified documents.
Arranged into four series as follows:
Series 1. Listed Papers, 1740-1899, undated, is arranged by subject.
Series 2. Business and Legal Accounts, 1735-1886, undated.
Series 3. Justice of the Peace Papers, 1743-1842, undated, is arranged chronologically.
Series 4. Personal and Political Papers, 1754-1868, undated.
Restrictions on Access
Restrictions on Use
See the Reproduction and Publications of State Library Collections policy.
Matthew Grant diary, 1637-1654, [CSL call number StLib Archives 974.62 W76gra] and [CSL call number StLib Newspaper Room F104.W7 G73 1637 Mfilm]; Transcription by J. A. Parsons, [CSL call number StLib Stacks F104.W7 G73 1927 ].
RG 003, Justice of the Peace Courts, East Windsor, Roswell Grant, 1798-1801, Box 551.
Ebenezer Grant mansion, by Frances. H. Judd. Typescript [CSL call number StLib Archives 929.2 G766j].
East Windsor (Conn.) -- History -- Sources
Grant, Frederick W
Grant, P. Winthrop
East Windsor (Conn.)
Justices of the peace -- Connecticut -- East Windsor
Orders to pay
Receipts (financial records)
The papers evidently came to the State Library some years ago through G.W.F. Blanchfield, bookseller of Hartford. With other papers (RG 069:051 and RG 069:052), they have been known as the "Blanchfield Collection." The account books, Vols. 1-4 (Series 2), were presented in 1927 by the children of John Allen Stoughton.