In our stacks are numerous black boxes that, like the ones in airplanes, can yield amazing information. One such box was labeled “Hartford deeds, land and probate records” with everything filed in chronological order. A volunteer spent several days going through the files and identified some very interesting documents. One of these is an estate inventory of Samuel Bulter in 1712. Among his personal effects were two coats, a pair of britches, a waistcoat, a pair of gloves and two silk neck cloths. Household items included a trundle bedstead with bolster and pillows, tongs and trammels for the fireplace, a gun, a sword, six spoons, a warming pan, skeins of yarn, a loom, a spinning wheel and a reel. In the barn were two forks, a break, two cows, a yearling, a two year olf, two horses and sheaves of flax. Now I am curious to find out more about Mr. Butler.
Also in this box of deeds, land records and probate, were four apprenticeship agreements. Richard Dix, an idle person, was apprenticed for four years to Joseph Bigelow in 1717. No specific skill was mentioned in the document. At the age of seven, Elizabeth Colkin apprenticed herself (with her parents’ approval) until the age of 18, again to Joseph Bigelow and his wife Sarah. In 1780,Lemuel Wells was apprenticed to James Tiley to learn the art of goldsmithing. Finally, an undated document contracts for Nathaniel Seymour to teach John Rowel the art, mystery and trade of a potter. Each apprenticeship agreement tells a different story, not only about the person taking on the apprentice, but the apprentice him or herself.