TABLE OF CONTENTS
RG 062:028, Town of Colchester
Inventory of Records
Finding aid prepared by Bruce P. Stark.
Copyright © 2007 by the Connecticut State Library
Colchester in eastern Connecticut was incorporated in 1698 and named in October 1699. It was initially in New London County, but made part of Hartford County in October 1708, and New London County again after the Revolution. A large section of the southern part of the town together with the north part of Lyme was constituted as New Salem Society in 1725 (later the town of Salem), Westchester Parish in southwestern Colchester was established in 1728, while Marlborough Parish was formed in 1747 from parts of Colchester, Hebron, and Glastonbury. In October 1741, Colchester, East Haddam, and Hebron were constituted as the Colchester Probate District.
The vast majority of the Connecticut State Library's holdings of Colchester records are found in RG 000, Classified Archives. The records included here consist of three boxes of materials from two series.
Series 1. Court and Justice of the Peace Records, 1742-1882, is made up of two boxes papers kept primarily by three judges of probate, John Bulkley of Colchester and Joseph Spencer and Isaac Spencer, Jr. of East Haddam, of the Colchester Probate District.¹ The papers are in poor physical condition and consist of materials that document the work of the judges of probate. The records consist of appointments of administrators of estates, reports of administrators, presentments of wills and inventories of estates, accounts of debts owed by estates, and other similar materials.
A typical example of the kind of information included is the report given to the judge of probate by Amy Rogers on February 7, 1757. "At s[ai]d Court Amey Rogers Adm[inistratri]x on ye Estate of Adam Rogers late of East Haddam Dec[ease]d Exhibited her adm[instratri]x Acc[oun]t of Debts pay'd & Charges allow'd, ye Sum of £13-3-8 L.[awful] money & added to ye Inventory of sd Decd wheat & flax £7-12-8 L money" (Box 1, folder 3). On September 6, 1796 after the death of Dr. Thomas Skinner of Colchester, the court ordered that the announcement for people having claims against the estate be placed on the signposts in Colchester 1st Society and New Salem Society and that it be published in the New London Gazette. Much of the information in these probate records is located in the probate records for wills and inventories of estates found at the State Library, but occasional details not included in those records can be found here.
Series 2. Tax Records, 1819-1823, consists of Colchester rate books for the years 1819 and 1823. In 1819, the town of Salem was incorporated primarily from sections of Colchester and Lyme, thus rates for heads of household from New Salem Society are not included. Rate books are an extremely useful source for those interested in genealogy or local history. The book for 1819, for example, provides information on quantity, value, and location of real property, plus listings for livestock, mill ownership, and ownership of taxable personal property like silver plate, clocks, watches, chaises and carriages, and bank stock. The list for Samuel Gillet, 2nd totaled $4,857 and consisted of ½ of a dwelling house, 162 acres of land, 1 mill, 1 horse, 11 neat cattle, together with silver plate, a clock, and 1 poll. Valuations ranged from a low of $6 for Ames Morgan to a high of $20,397 for Henry Champion of Westchester Society. The 1823 rate book is similar in scope except that the list of taxable items was on printed forms.
¹The East Haddam Probate District was set off from the Colchester District in 1832.
Series 1. Court and Justice of the Peace Records, 1742-1883 contains probate records.
Series 2. Tax Records, 1819-1823 contains tax rate books.
Restrictions on Access
The probate records in Boxes 1-2 are extremely fragile and cannot be photocopied.
The last folder in Box 3 contains restricted materials related to Native Americans in Colchester. Photocopies of the originals are placed in the locations from which the originals were removed.
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.
The bulk of records documenting the history of Colchester are found in RG 000 Early General Records and RG 070 Church Records. Included within the records in RG 000 are those of the First Congregational Church, 1732-1937; Second Congregational Church (Westchester), 1729-1885; Baptist Church, 1835-1953; Scott Hill Baptist Church, 1780-1939, Calvary Church (P. E.), 1864, 1937; Colchester Land Records, 1701-1721; andrecords of the First and Third School Districts, plus a quantity of papers on other subjects. RG 070 contains additional materials on the First Congregational Church.
Local taxation -- Connecticut -- Colchester -- Registers
Probate records -- Connecticut -- Colchester
Property tax -- Connecticut -- Colchester -- Registers
Tax assessment -- Connecticut -- Colchester -- Registers
Taxation -- Connecticut -- Colchester -- Registers
Colchester (Conn.) -- Records and correspondence