Phineas Baldwin and Reuben Webster journal, 1784-1829
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Brief Description:

The journal of Phineas Baldwin (abt. 1847-1817) and Reuben Webster (1757-1833) documents the activites of two men in Litchfield, Conn.  Baldwin traded in a variety of commodities and services with Litchfield residents, such as wood, veal, rice, tobacco, butter, and carting. His sections of the book run from 1784 to 1806. Another person, perhaps Reuben Webster, also used the book. In these sections, dating from 1817 through 1829, are several entries regarding Baldwin's estate, several regarding the writer's personal affairs, such as his tax list , medicinal recipies, and apple trees purchased, and a number of notations from 1823-1824, which record activities relating to official Litchfield town business, such as writing letters to selectmen of other towns, payments for arbitration and other services; bridge repair and inspection; inspection of property lines; warning people out of town; and the like. The journal also contains accounts of washing performed in 1822 for Jacob Baker and Henry Cruger, two Litchfield Law School students.

Little is known about Baldwin, whose gravestone refers to him, like the journal, as "captain"; it is not known whether he was a soldier or associated with the sea. He was a son of David Baldwin and Hannah Canfield and married to Mary Cooke (abt. 1753-1817), a daughter of Aaron and Charity [?] Cooke. Phineas and Mary Cooke had no children, and his wife, some children of his siblings, and the children of Mary's cousin Nathan Cook were named in his will.

Although Reuben Webster's name is not found in the journal, it is surmised that he is, in fact, the other writer in the journal. He was the executor of Phineas Baldwin's estate and, as mentioned above, the journal contains references to the estate. Webster was a selectman of Litchfield from 1822-1824, and the items notated in the journal are consistent with a selectman's duties and are from that time period. Also, Webster's known handwriting is similar to that found in the book.

Reuben Webster was a storekeeper and active in local affairs. He served in the American Revolutionary War and was a jailer in the late 1790s; constable, 1805; selectman, 1822-1824; grand juror, 1824; and assessor, 1828. He married Ann Buell (1781-1841) and they had four children.

Held at:
Litchfield Historical Society
7 South Street, P.O. Box 385
Litchfield, CT 6759
Phone: 860-567-4501
Fax: 860-567-3565
Email: archivist [at]
Record Series Number: 00/2010-110-0
Created by: Baldwin, Phineas, Webster, Reuben
Volume: 0.1 Linear Feet
Acquired: 04/21/2010.
Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.
Subject Index
Business enterprises - Connecticut - Litchfield
Litchfield (Conn.)
Litchfield (Conn.) - Politics and government
Genres/Forms of Material
Account books
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Acquisition Notes: Museum purchase
PreferredCitation: Phineas Baldwin and Reuben Webster journal (2010-110-0), Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759