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Waterbury's Slave Owners
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The Clark Family

The Congregational Church’s Deacon Thomas Clark (1690-1767) was adopted as a young child by his uncle, Timothy Stanley, one of Waterbury’s first settlers, who had no children of his own. Clark learned his uncle’s trade as a cloth weaver and managed the family farm. He was also a storekeeper and served as Town Clerk and Treasurer. He inherited his uncle’s home on the south side of the Green, and occasionally took in boarders and fed soldiers passing through town. Clark’s store sold items such as pepper, salt, wine, almanacs, cloth, rum and tobacco. He bought supplies for his store from Derby and New Haven.

According to Henry Bronson’s History of Waterbury, published in 1858, Clark may have been Waterbury's first slave owner. He brought a boy named Mingo to Waterbury sometime around 1730. Mingo helped work Clark’s farm and was at times hired out to other Waterbury residents. Clark’s three sons and four daughters were also hired out to work in other households.

Clark’s son Thomas (1738-1779) inherited the home on the Green, which he operated as a tavern until his death. Following Deacon Clark’s death in 1767, Mingo had chosen to remain in the family home, but when it became a tavern, he moved to the Town Plot section of Waterbury, to live with the Deacon’s other son, Timothy (1732-1824). By the time the 1790 census was taken, Mingo was a free man living in the Clark household. He may have been given his freedom after Deacon Clark died. Mingo was a member of the First Congregational church in 1795 and died in 1800.

Related Biographies

Map of the Village of Mattatuck
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Map of the Village of Mattatuck (detail)
Map depicting the early village that later became Waterbury. Deacon Thomas Clark inherited the home of his uncle, Timothy Stanley. Illustrated in Henry Bronson, The History of Waterbury, Connecticut, published in 1858.

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