Clothing the Continental Army

Two receipts recently added to the collection indicate how towns in Connecticut supported the Revolutionary War effort. The town of Kent was able to gather 12 pairs of shoes and 14 pairs of stockings, valued at 9 pounds, six shillings. Abel Hines signed for the supplies February 1, 1779. In April 1779 Elijah Hubbard collected items from Middletown–62 pairs of shoes, 17 pairs of stockings, 36 shirts, 42 pairs of woolen breeches, 23 pairs of linen overalls, and ten blankets. Connecticut was known as the Provisions State for supplying food, cannon, and other goods, like this clothing, to the Continental Army.

These two receipts are not the only documentation we have of the state’s support of the war effort. Jeremiah Wadsworth’s papers are filled with letters and other documents representing his role as Commissary General, and within various town records there are similar receipts for supplies. You can get a sense of the vast number of primary documents we have relating to the Revolution by searching our online catalog at The two receipts here can be seen by requesting Ms 101630.

Rural Kent was able to provide shoes and stockings, but not even the same number of each! Ms 101630

Middletown helps with an extensive amount of clothing including shoes, breeches, and overalls, Ms 101630.

Know All Men by These Presents

A recent addition to our collection is a deed in which the widow Easter Smith of Middletown, Connecticut, transferred all her rights, title and interest in the real and personal estate of her late husband Rev. Joseph Smith, to their only son Joseph.  Included in the transfer is “also all the right, title or interest I have in, or to Cloys a negro man which belonged to my Husband aforesaid.” All of these possessions were to go to son Joseph, however, after Easter’s decease. The document was signed 18 December 1738.

Esther, who was born 1672, was the daughter of Joseph Parsons, one of the first settlers of Northampton, Mass. Joseph was installed in the church in Middletown in 1715. Esther lived with her son Joseph until her death May 30, 1760, at the age of 89. The son Joseph in his 1768 left Cloys (also found in the record as Cliop, Peter and Cleops) equally to his five sons with the stipulation that he not be sold out of the family and that he be cared for when infirm.

Northerners in general are reluctant to admit that their forebears owned slaves. This document is yet one more piece of proof that the “peculiar institution” was alive and well in Connecticut in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Ask for Ms 101144 should you come and visit.