Matthew Grant’s "Diary" or Notebook

Matthew Grant, Windsor Connecticut’s first surveyor, second town clerk, and ancestor of President Ulysses S. Grant, was born on October 27, 1601, probably in England, and died December 16, 1681 in Windsor. Although older genealogies indicate he came on the Mary & John with the Rev. John Warham, Windsor’s first minister, this has not been established definitively and Robert Charles Anderson does not include Grant on his "Provisional Synthetic Passenger List for the Mary & John."

 

Grant became Windsor’s town clerk after the first town clerk, Dr. Bray Rossiter, moved to Guilford in 1651. Today, Matthew Grant is best remembered for creating three sets of records:

 

  • Reports to the Colony, particularly the births, marriages, and deaths entered into Volumes 1 and 2 of the Colony Land Records to comply with Connecticut’s Code of 1650. These vital records were published by Edwin Stanley Welles as Births, Marriages and Deaths Returned from Hartford, Windsor and Fairfield (see Bibliography) and are indexed in the State Library’s Barbour Collection of Connecticut Vital Records as "Volume COL."
     
  • The "Old Church Record" – more accurately a catalog of church members and their baptized children, begun about 1668 at a time when there were divisions within the Windsor church concerning the "Half-Way Covenant." Although Grant was not the church clerk and what has become commonly known as the "Old Church Record" was not actually an official record of the church, Grant’s volume fills in gaps in the early official town and church records. The original is at the Connecticut Historical Society. The State Library holds a typescript (indexed in Barbour Collection, where it is cited as "Volume MG").
     
  • The "Matthew Grant Diary," more accurately a personal notebook or journal, which is discussed here.