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.