1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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    R.I.H.S. Library page

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 Johnston Town Records Collection

 Records, 1759-1889 (including transcriptions done through 1946)

 Size: 3 lin. ft.

 Catalog number: MSS 202

 Processed circa 1985; finding aid by Rick Stattler, March 1997

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            The town of Johnston was set off from the western part of Providence in 1759. It was named after Augustus Johnston, who was then the state's attorney general. Parts of the village of Olneyville were returned to Providence in 1898 and 1918.

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Scope and content:

            The bulk of these records are transcriptions made circa 1946 by genealogist Clarence I Brown from original records in the Johnstown town hall. They include a few items transcribed by Brown that were not official Johnstown records. A few original records have been added from various sources.

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            The large majority of these records were donated by Clarence I. Brown in 1947. The 1778 tax books were purchased from John Conti in 1969. Two of the town sergeant summonses were purchased from William Longo in 1980, and the other was a gift of Mrs. Robert S. Ames in 1981. The 1774 letter to the town council was purchased from M&S Rare Books in 1983. The 1776 militia bill from Ebeneazer Sprague was a gift in 2000 from Rick Stattler, who had purchased it via Internet auction. A card index to most of the papers is available in the card catalog at the Manuscripts Division.

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All records are hand-written transcriptions from the original records, done by Clarence I. Brown, except original items marked with an asterisk *.

Box l (original records)

* Letter to the Johnston Town Council, from Joseph Wanton, Henry Ward, John Mawdsley, John Collins, and William Ellery, dated January l5, 1774. Requesting assistance in forming union of colonies.

* Letter to Johnston Town Council from Col. Robert Elliot, dated June 11, 1777, requesting permit to move rum from town.

            * Sheriff, 1757-1768. 15 loose pages (writs, etc.)

            * Justice Court, loose warrants and minutes, 176l, 1763, 1767.

            * Treasurer, 1776. Receipted bill from Ebenezer Sprague for militia service and supplies.

            * Treasurer, 1779. Receipt for $400 borrowed by town from Christopher Olney.

* Letter to Johnston Town Clerk from Theodore Foster, Town Clerk of Providence, re smallpox innoculation, July 19, 1776

            * Roads, 1805, 1806, 1814. Lists of men taxed for Augustus Brown's road district.

            * Tax lists, 1778, for town and state taxes.

            * Tax lists, 1822, for town and state taxes.

            * Tax lists, 1823, for town and state taxes.

            * Committee to set bounds for Plainfield Street, 1856

            * Town Sargeant - notices from General Assembly:

                        1788, to choose general officers.

                        1790, to choose delegates to Constitutional convention.

                        1796, to choose representatives.

            * List of voting freemen, 1780

            * Town meeting - contemporary copies from minutes:

                        1767, selecting deputies

                        1784, resolutions re representation and trade

                        1795, selection of town council members

                        1803, resolution opposing relief of turnpike company


Box 1 (continued - transcripts)

            Probate Record Book #1 Index

            Probate Record 1759-1823 Index

            J64.2 Probate Court, 1772-1792

            J64.5 Probate Court, 1803-1806

            J64.6-1 Probate Court, 1807

            J64.6-2 Probate Court, 1807-1811

            J64.9 Clerk's list of Probate Books, l-22

            J64.11 Town meeting, 1759-1779

                          Town Meeting, 1777

            J64.12 Town Meeting 1764-1773

Box 2

            J64.13 Town Meeting, 1781-1784

            J64.14-1 Town Meeting, 1784-1789?

            J64.15 Town Meeting, 1791-1795

            J64.16-2 Town Meeting, 1781-91

            J64.16-1 Town Meeting Minutes, 1817-1820

            J64.16-2 Town Meeting, 1821-1824

            J64.17 Richard Fenner, will, 1799

                        Income tax returns, 1864

                        Brown family records, misc.

            J64.18 Town Clerk's list of Records, 1760-1814

            J64.19 Index to births, marriages, deaths, 1759-1843

Box 3

            J64.20 Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1759-1843

            J64 Town Council, 1759

            J64.21-1 Town Council Minutes, 1760-65

            J64.21-2 Town Council Minutes, 1765-1772

            J64.21-3 Town Council Minutes, 1778-1784

            J64.21-4 Town Council Minutes, 1784-1789

            J64.21-5 Town council Minutes, 1789-1792

Box 4

            J64.2l-6 Town Council, 1792-1797

            J64.22 Town Council Minutes, 1796-1799

            J64.23 Town Council Minutes, 1799-1803

            J64.24 Town Council Minutes, 1804-1810

            J64.25 Henry Bowen account book, 1787-1795, 1806, as town sergeant of Providence

            J64.26 Highways, 1794. With lists of men taxed for each district.

            J64.27 Town Council account book, 1784-1803

            Louis D. Richardson's survey of official Johnston records, done 1924.

            Laban Waterman account book, 1777-1792, of Johnston. Includes accounts for coffins.

            Grantor's Index, 1854-1889

            J64.l0 Justice Court Record, 1805-1809


            Probate Records

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Bowen, Henry

Brown, Clarence I. (1879-1947)

Coffins - Rhode Island - Johnston

Ellery, William (1727-1820)

Elliot, Robert (d.1838)

Providence, R.I. - Town sergeant records

Sprague, Ebenezer

United States - History - Revolution, 1775-1783

Waterman, Laban (1753-1843)

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