Research has revealed more than 100 African Americans,
free and enslaved, who lived in Waterbury in the eighteenth
and early nineteenth centuries.
The details of the lives of Waterbury's African Americans,
and Native Americans, uncovered through probate records,
lawsuits, census data, church records and published histories
of Waterbury, have been pulled together here as short
biographies. As new research is completed, these biographies
will be updated and new ones added.
The Westbury section of Waterbury, which became Watertown
in 1785, had a relatively large population of African Americans.
Other sections of Waterbury, including Farmingbury (now
Wolcott) and Northbury (now Thomaston), had very few African
Americans and are included in the Waterbury list. In addition
to the names on these lists, there were numerous people
who appear in census records and church records but were
not referred to by name.
James H. Beard, The Elton Farm (detail)
Painting of a farm in Watertown, with an African American
man walking in the distance. Collection of the Mattatuck