TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview of the Collection

Historical Note

Scope and Content

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Container List

Series 1. Fairfield County 1942-1960

Series 2. Hartford County 1792-1959

Series 3. Litchfield County 1895-1960

Series 4. Middlesex County 1790-1960

Series 5. New Haven County 1892-1961

Series 6. New London County 1841-1960

Series 7. Tolland County 1795-1939

Series 8. Windham County 1874-1955


RG 061, County Government

Inventory of Records

Finding aid prepared by Paul E. Baran.

Copyright © 2007 by the Connecticut State Library


Overview of the Collection

Repository: Connecticut State Library
Creator: Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, and Windham Counties (Conn.)
Title: County government records
Dates: 1792-1961
Quantity: 53.5 cubic feet
Abstract: Commissioner, Jail, Termporary Home, and Treasurer records from the eight Connecticut counties.
Identification: RG061
Accession: Multiple
Language: The records are in English.

Historical Note

County government began in Connecticut in 1666 with the creation of four counties: Fairfield, Hartford, New Haven, and New London for the purpose of operating courts and jails. Eventually four additional counties were formed: Windham (1726), Litchfield (1751), Middlesex (1785), and Tolland (1785). Due to the importance of town government in Connecticut, however, the counties never acquired the significance that they did in other parts of the nation.

Originally, two commissioners and their assistant handled all court matters, including maintenance of the courthouse and jail. Changes to the county courts began shortly after their formation and in 1838 legal matters were separated from business operations. Under this change, only one of the three county officials was appointed judge of the county count instead of all three, as in the past. The other two officials were given the responsibility of managing the county affairs and property. A complete separation of the county's judicial and administrative activities was made in 1841, and all three county officials, now called commissioners and appointed by the General Assembly, devoted their full time to county matters.

Administration of the jails was turned over to the sheriff in 1799, an office that antedated the establishment of the counties. Originally the General Court appointed marshals, but after the formation of the first four counties, each county court appointed its own marshal, beginning in 1687. The title was changed to sheriff in 1724 and appointment was transferred to the governor, and later to the General Assembly after the adoption of the 1818 Constitution. A constitutional amendment in 1886 made the office elective. Still, the commissioners were required to supervise management of the jail, audit its accounts, control some of the expenditures, and prescribe general regulations.

The office of Treasurer was established in 1703 to keep an account of all fines and penalties issued by the county courts. Eventually the treasurer was appointed by the commissioners and kept accounts of the county's receipts and expenditures. The commissioners also appointed a sealer of weights and measures, who had broad inspecting duties, a clerk, courthouse employees, and approved the sheriff's appointment of deputy jailers.

The powers of the counties changed over the years. When the first four counties were formed in 1666, they were permitted to issue licenses for the sale of wines and liquors. In 1838, town authorities were authorized to nominate persons as tavern keepers, although the actual granting of licenses was made by the county courts. The county commissioners received the power to issue liquor licenses in 1854. In 1872, the procedure for handling licenses changed again and the county commissioners were given sole responsibility for granting the licenses. The counties also acquired two welfare functions. In 1883, counties began to operate temporary homes for neglected and uncared-for children. Prior to this, these children were kept in town almshouses, placed with pauper families, or placed in institutions. In 1919 the counties began to administer the Widow's Aid program financed by the state to provide financial assistance to widows with dependant children under sixteen.

A number of factors contributed to the demise of county government. New state agencies took over functions performed by the counties. After the repeal of Prohibition, the state's Liquor Control Commission began to grant liquor licenses, and in 1941 the state's Aid to Dependent Children program replaced the Widows' Aid program. The trend to place children in foster homes, coupled with changes in welfare laws in 1953 and disturbances in various county temporary homes paved the way for the closing of the homes in 1955. At that time all children under county care were placed under state jurisdiction. The operation of the jails, the last remaining major function of county government, came under criticism for the age of the structures, treatment of prisoners, and administration. Calls for reforms led to the abolition of county government effective October 1, 1960.

Source: Rosaline Levensen, County Government in Connecticut, Its History and Demise, (Storrs, Conn: Institute of Public Service, Extended and Continuing Education, University of Connecticut, 1966), especially chapters 5 - 8.

Return to the Table of Contents


Scope and Content

The records of county government are arranged alphabetically by county. Within each county, four possible subseries may be found: Commissioners, Jail, Temporary Home, and Treasurer.

Commissioner records may contain bills and receipts, correspondence, minutes, personnel records, and reports. Records of particular interest are: municipal building cornerstone contents, 1892-94 from Middlesex County; records related to county wards placed in foster care, 1941-55, and the temporary home sale, 1955-60, from New Haven County; and bonds and applications for liquor licenses, 1881-95, from Tolland County.

Jail records include account books, bills and recepits, day books, journals, ledger books, prisoner board records, commitments and discharges, returns, and sheriff's logs.

Temporary Home records include admissions and discharges, bills and recepits, records of children, and records of visitors.

Treasurer records include bills and receipts, bonds, and cancelled checks.

The records of the County Courts are part of Record Group 003 and are not included here.

Return to the Table of Contents


Arrangement

Series 1. Fairfield County (1942-1960) includes records of the Commissioners and the Temporary Home.

Series 2. Hartford County (1792-1959) includes records of the Commissioners, the Jail, and the Temporary Home.

Series 3. Litchfield County (1895-1960) includes records of the Jail.

Series 4. Middlesex County (1790-1960) includes records of the Commissioners and the the Jail.

Series 5. New Haven County (1892-1961) includes records of the Commissioners and the Temporary Home.

Series 6. New London County (1841-1960) includes records of the Commissioners and the Jail.

Series 7. Tolland County (1795-1939) includes records of the Commissioners and the Treasurer.

Series 8. Windham County (1874-1955) includes records of the Commissioners, the Jail, the Temporary Home, and the Treasurer.

Return to the Table of Contents


Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Some of the County Government 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.

Restrictions on Use

See the Reproduction and Publications of State Library Collections policy.

Return to the Table of Contents


Related Material

Related materials can be found in other record groups. Beginning in 1886 county commissioners were required to issue reports relating to the debts, receipts, and expenditures for each county. From 1886 to 1937, these reports, known as the Returns of County Commissioners, had to be made to the Secretary of State, and might be found in Record Group 006. After 1937, the reports were submitted to the State Commissioner of Welfare and then to both the Welfare and Tax Commissioners. These might be found in Record Group 019. The records of the Department of Education, Record Group 010, contains Temporary Home records, 1913-1915 consisting of 2 volumes of report forms concerning orphans' placements and their school attendance. Finally, the records of the Judicial Department, Record Group 003, may contain items related to the counties.

Return to the Table of Contents


Index Terms

Subjects:

Children--Institutional care--Connecticut--Fairfield County
Children--Institutional care--Connecticut--New Haven County
Children--Institutional care--Connecticut--Windham County
County government--Connecticut
Jails--Connecticut--Hartford County
Jails--Connecticut--Litchfield County
Jails--Connecticut--Middlesex County
Jails--Connecticut--New London County
Jails--Connecticut--Windham County

Places:

Fairfield County (Conn.)
Hartford County (Conn.)
Litchfield County (Conn.)
Middlsex County (Conn.)
New Haven County (Conn.)
New London County (Conn.)
Tolland County (Conn.)
Windham County (Conn.)

Occupations:

County officials and employees

Document Types:

Administrative records
Correspondence
Financial records
Minutes
Personnel records

Return to the Table of Contents


Administrative Information

Provenance

After the abolition of county government effective October 1, 1960, various units of state and town government took over many of the functions performed at the county level. The Budget Division of the Department of Finance and Control liquidated any records not taken over by successor agencies and turned many records over to the State Library in 1961. Unfortunately, a large quantity of material was approved for destruction. A list of materials destroyed at that time is available in the Archives office.

Under administrative and professional practices at that time, the State Library catalogued much of the materials and placed them in the manuscript collection. Materials received by the State Archives after 1961 became part of Record Group 061.

Return to the Table of Contents


Container List

Series 1. Fairfield County, 1942-1960
Separated material
Manuscript Collection 974.51 F15.
Remonstrance against removal of county buildings from Danbury to Bridgeport, 1867. 1 document.
Manuscript Collection 974.51 F15co.
Commissioners, Child welfare check register, 1953-1955, 1 volume; Daybook, 1881-1887. 1 volume; New Haven & Fairfield County Joint Bridge Account Book, 1895-1920, 1 volume.
Temporary Home, Child welfare accounts, 1931-1944, 2 boxes; Detail of board, 1944-1955, 1 box; Temporary Home, Ledger book, 1896-1936, 1 volume.
Box
Commissioners, 1942-1960, Accession: T002729, 2.75 cubic feet
Personnel records
Payroll, 1956-1960 1
Severance pay, 1960
Social Security, 1956-1960
Tax returns, 1942-1959
Time returns
1956-1959
1960 2
Wage earner records
1952-1954
1955-1956, 1958 3
1955-1956 4
Withholding statements (W-2), Withholding exemption certificates (W-4), and Connnecticut medical service cards, 1942-1960 5
Yearly earnings records, 1943-1949 6
Temporary Home, 1943-1955, Accession: T002729, 0.25 cubic feet
Expense accounts, 1943-1947 7
Savings account cards, 1954-1955
Series 2. Hartford County, 1792-1959
Separated material
Manuscript Collection 974.61 fH25tr.
Treasurer, Account books, 1873-1893, 2 volumes.
Manuscript Collection 974.61 H25co r.
Commissioners, Orders for Highways, Bridges, Telegraph, Telephone & Electric Poles, 1891-1892, 1 volume; Court House ledger book, 1882-1885, 1 volume; Data related to the Hurricane of 1938, 1 folder.
Temporary Home, Account book, 1891-1923, 1 volume; Admissions and discharges, 1883-1933, 5 volumes; Journal, 1883-1887, 1 volume; Record book, 1891-1906, 1 volume.
Box
Commissioners, 1925-1959, Accession: T002730, 2.5 cubic feet
Bills and receipts
1955 1
1958 January-June 2
1958 July-September 3
Personnel records
Employee lists, 1945, undated
Payroll, 1954-1958
Retirement fund
History cards, 1946-1954
Payroll, 1953-1955 4
Payroll changes, 1946-1950
Refunds, 1947-1954
Resolutions, 1945
Subscriptions, 1946
Salary approvals, 1925-1953
Social Security, 1945-1954
Tax returns, 1943-1951
Wage earner records, 1956-1959 5
Yearly earning records, 1955-1959
Physical inventories, Jail, 1959, undated
Jail, 1792-1902, Accession: T002730, 3.5 cubic feet
Commitment warrants
1792, 1817-1830 6
1831-1832 7
1833-1834 8
1835-1839 9
1840-1858 10
1860-1873 11
1901-1902 12
Correspondence, 1870, undated
Temporary Home, 1883-1934, Accession: 2004-020, 2.5 cubic feet (8 volumes)
Records of children, 1883-1934, 8 volumes
Series 3. Litchfield County, 1895-1960
Separated material
Manuscript Collection 974.61 L71P.
"220 piecies", 1 box.
Commissioners, Agreements, 1851-1854.
Treasurer, Bills and recipts, 1843-1857; Leases, 1843-1853.
Manuscript Collection 974.61 L71tr.
Treasurer, Acount book, 1830-1852, 1 volume. (Also contains Building Committee Accounts, 1811.); Day book, 1784-1830, 1 volume; Ledger book, 1755-1792, 1 volume; Record and account book, 1752-1755, 1 volume.
Box
Jail, 1895-1960, 3 cubic feet
Accession: T002738, 0.25 cubic feet
Board of prisoners, 1960, undated 1
Correspondence, 1957
Physical inventories, 1942-1959
Reports, 1944
Commitments and discharges, 1895-1926, 1 volume
Prisoner board records, 1918-1935, 1 volume
Accession: T002739, 2.5 cubic feet
Day books, 1926-1944, 12 volumes
Commitments and discharges, 1951-1963, 2 volumes
Accession: 1983-025, 0.25 cubic feet
Sherriff's log books, 1928-1932, 5 volumes
A Statistical Acocunt of Several Towns in the County of Litchfield, 1810, Accession: 1993-068, 1 volume
Series 4. Middlesex County, 1790-1960
Separated material
Manuscript Collection 974.61 M58co r.
Commissioners, Correspondence, 1893-1896, 3 boxes; Letter book, 1893-1896, 1 volume.
Temporary Home, Petitions for committment to county care, 1903-1955, 2 boxes; Record book, 1910-1912, 1 volume; Records of children, 1883-1955, 3 volumes.
Treasurer, Account book, 1829-1887, 2 volumes; Day book, 1887-1905, 1 volume.
Box
Commissioners, 1892-1960, Accession: T002731, 1.5 cubic feet
Audit report, 1959 1
Municipal Building cornerstone, 1892-1894, 1948, undated
Personnel records 2
Correspondence, 1908-1960
Employee records, 1952-1960
Municipal Building Board of Control Payments, 1956-1959
Payroll, 1960
Payroll employee Cards, 1943-1951
Quarterly wage reports, 1951-1957
Salary approvals, 1893-1960 3
Social Security, 1950-1960
Tax guide, 1960
Tax returns, 1939-1960
Temporary Home, 1911-1958
Jail, 1790, Accession: T002731
Committment warrants, 1790, 1 folder 3
Series 5. New Haven County, 1892-1961
Separated material
Manuscript Collection 974.61 N42co.
Commissioners, Account book, 1899-1910, 1 volume.
Temporary Home, Admissions and discharges, 1937-1945, 2 volumes; Ledger book, 1895-1896, 1 volume.
Treasurer, Account book, 1750-1904, 2 volumes; Tax record book, 1895-1928, 1 volume.
Box
Commissioners, 1919-1961, 12.75 cubic feet
Accession: T002732, 3.25 cubic feet
County wards, 1941-1955 1
Hospital committments, 1956 2
Personnel records
Medical plan invoices, 1951-1955
Payroll accounts, 1954-1960 3
Payroll check registers, 1958-1959 4
Retirement fund contributions, 1956-1957
Retirement fund enrollments, 1946
Salary approvals, 1919, 1936-1955
Tax returns, 1955-1956
W-2 Lists, 1944-1949
Withholding exemption certificates (W-4)
1943-1944
1944-1958 5
Payroll, Jail, 1955-1958 6
Accession: T002734, 8 cubic feet
Personnel records
Employee earning cards
1943-1946 7
1947-1949 8
1950-1951 9
1952-1953 10
1954-1955 11
1956-1957 12
1958-1960 13
Payroll
1950-1952 14
1953-1955 15
1956-1958 16
1959-1960 17
Payroll analysis sheets
1948-1951 18
1951-1954 19
1954-1957 20
1957-1960 21
Accession: 2001-027, 1.5 cubic feet
Annual Report of County of New Haven, 1958 22
Calls to county meetings, 1958-1960
Correspondence, 1951-1960
Correspondence, Jail, 1958-1960
Decisions of county meeting, 1959
Financial statements, 1958-1959
Legal case records, 1958-1961
Minutes
1958
1959-1960 23
Minutes, Budget hearing, 1955
Minutes, County meeting
1955, 1959
1960 24
Minutes, Temporary Home Board, 1954
Newspaper clippings, 1956-1959, undated
Report of Treasurer, New Haven County Law Library Association, 1958
Temporary Home Sale
Building exits code, 1957
Closing documents, 1958-1960, undated
Correspondence, 1955-1960
Legislative acts, 1959
Marketing brochures, undated
Minutes, undated
Purchase agreement, 1960
Purchase offers, 1959-1960
Valuations, 1955-1959
Temporary Home, 1892-1955, Accession: 1986-013, 7.75 cubic feet
Admissions and discharges, 1884-1899, 26 volumes
Lists of children boarding, 1892-1923, 4 volumes
Records of children, 1892-1955, 11 volumes
Series 6. New London County, 1841-1960
Separated material
Manuscript Collection 974.61 N44co.
Commissioners, Correspondence, 1901-1908, 2 boxes.
Temporary Home, Admissions and discharges, 1883-1892, 1 volume; Children's expense record book, 1953-1955, 2 volumes.
Treasurer, Records of children, 1883-1933, 4 volumes; Records of child placements, 1884-1932, 3 volumes.
Box
Commissioners, 1841-1960, 2.5 cubic feet
Accession: T002743, 1 cubic foot
Equipment catalogs, 1957, undated 1
Expenses paid, 1956-1957
Jail construction, 1948-1958
Personnel records including correspondence, 1960
Lists, 1960, undated
Payroll, 1956-1958
Physical inventories, 1960
Taxes on towns, 1958-1959
Truck bids, 1956
Cash book, 1956-1960 2
Accession: T002735
Record book, 1841-1873 2
Accession: No accession number, 1.5 cubic feet
Expenses, 1955-1958 3
Expenses, Temporary Home, 1954-1956
Newspaper clippings, Temporary Home sale, 1956
Accession: 2002-098, .25 cubic feet
Admission to the bar, Edwin W. Higgins, 1897 September 24 1
Bonds, 1928-1956
Executions on Compensation Commission awards, 1949-1961
Grievance Committee matters, 1925-1949
Legislators' meetings, 1943-1952
New London county Law Library Association accounts and reports, 1942-1958
Resignations, discharges, and leaves of absence, 1915-1968
Statements of William Lewis as county investigator, 1924-1925
Jail, 1845-1884, , Accession: T002736, 2.75 cubic feet
Account books, 1865-1881, 2 volumes
Day books, 1861-1881, 2 volumes
Journal, 1875-1878, 1 volume
Ledger book, 1875-1878, 1 volume
Record books, 1845-1878, 3 volumes
Returns, 1862-1881, 3 volumes
Series 7. Tolland County, 1795-1939
Separated material
Manuscript Collection 974.61 T57.
Specifications for Court House building, 1836, 1 document.
Manuscript Collection 974.61 T58to r.
Temporary Home, Record book, 1884-1891, 1 volume.
Manuscript Collection 974.61 T58tr r.
Treasurer, Check books, 1885-1894, 3 volumes.
Box
Commissioners, 1878-1917, Accession: T002733, 1.5 cubic feet
Certificates of inspection, 1896-1897 1
Contracts, 1878-1898
Insurance policies, 1879-1885
License bonds and applications
1881-1887
1888-1891 2
1892-1895, undated 3
1907-1916
Minutes of Senators and Representatives, 1909-1917
Physical inventories, 1885, 1891
Treasurer, 1795-1939, Accession: T002733, 7 cubic feet
Bills and receipts
1795-1796, 1822-1874 4
1875-1880 5
1881-1888 6
1889-1890 7
1891-1892 8
1893-1894 9
1895-1896, 1908, 1913-1918 10
Bills and receipts, Court
1814-1832 11
1833-1851 12
Bills and receipts, Temporary Home
1884-1890 13
1891-1894 14
Blank account forms, undated 15
Bonds of bank directors, 1828
Bonds of conservators, 1821-1829
Bonds of jailers, 1887-1911
Bond of law library association treasurer, 1892
Check books, 1881, 1884-1885
Insurance policies, 1830-1835
List of names, undated
Notes, 1805-1828
Pension claim, 1901
Reports of commissioners, 1878-1883
Returns for jail, 1871-1917
Salary payments to commissioners, 1902-1903 16
Statement of undertaker, 1895
Taxes on towns, 1820-1939
Warrantee deeds, 1887, 1895, 1899
Cancelled checks, 1885-1897, 1903 17
Cancelled checks, Temporary Home, 1892-1906 18
Series 8. Windham County, 1874-1955
Separated material
Manuscript Collection 974.61 W72co.
Commissioners, Expenses of children in foster homes, 1930-1932, 1 volume.
Jail, Visitor book, 1897-1904, 1 volume.
Manuscript Collection 974.61 W72t.
Tax assessment list of all dwelling houses not exceeding two acres, 1798, 1 document.
Manuscript Collection 974.61 W72tr.
Treasurer, Account book, 1771-1823, 1 volume.
Box
Commissioners, 1896, Accession: T002744
Good road orders, 1896, 1 folder 4
Jail, 1874-1898, Accession: T002744, 1.25 cubic feet
Bills and receipts
1895-1896 1
1897-1898, undated 2
Correspondence, 1895, 1897 3
Discharges, 1876-1893, undated
Notes of prisoners, 1874-1894, undated
Prisoner correspondence, 1898
Prisoner writings, 1898
Telephone service contract, 1897
Temporary Home, 1883-1955
Accession: T002742, 1.25 cubic feet
Records of children, 1883-1919, 2 volumes
Records of visitors, 1891-1955, 1 volume
Accession: T002744, 0.5 cubic feet
Bills and receipts, 1895-1897 4
Physical inventory, 1894
Accession: 2011-121, .25 cubic feet
Card file, circa 1937-1955 1
Arranged first into 3 groups and therein alphabetically: Boarding children, circa 1937-1939; wage homes, circa 1937-1939; self boarding homes, circa 1948-1955.
Treasurer, 1914-1943
Accession: T002740
Receipts and expenditures, 1914-1943, 1 volume
Accession: T002744, 0.5 cubic feet
Cancelled checks, 1893-1898 5