One of the largest collections cataloged for our grant project was the Stonington selectmen’s records, 1792-1903. The collection, measures 30.25 linear feet (61 boxes) and dates from the entire 19th century, the bulk of the records are from the 1880s and 1890s. Earlier records, from the 1820s, have yielded names of colored people (a term often used to refer to Native Americans) and Negroes living in town. Later records detail purchases of groceries for the poor, schoolhouse expenses, and labor for highway repairs. Each month the selectmen would submit their bill to the town, complete with all their receipts. Earlier submissions were entirely handwritten, but by the 1880s the majority of the documentation was written on pre-printed forms.
Among the more interesting discoveries was that supplies for the poor were divided among the five voting districts, with the second district receiving the most assistance. Also, dog owners were fined if their dog killed or injured a sheep. By 1890 the fine for this offence was up to five dollars per sheep.
Also of interest are many bills for town residents enrolled at the Connecticut School for Imbeciles and those receiving services at the Connecticut State Hospital. There are several mentions of town residents being treated for small pox. A list, compiled during the Civil War, provides the names of substitutes drafted to serve in place of Stonington residents. MS 70293