Friday, July 14, 2017

Early Assessors' Records in Erving

Taxation records can reveal many details to aid our research.

Although the Town of Erving was not incorporated until 1838, records as early as 1822 are available to review in the Assessors’ office in Town Hall. The earliest records are ledger pages, now bound in protective sleeves. From 1863, they are filed in oversized books of printed forms.

The list of residents – heads of household – and their property introduces us to the townspeople. The number of polls is listed for each entry. These are men of voting age. The valuation of their real estate is listed, as well as the livestock. Taxation on those assets is divided into categories, including school and road taxes. Beyond the agricultural economy, items such as saw mills were valued and taxed. In some cases, cash on hand was also taxed.

From 1847, we can see James Moore's one poll checked in the first column, his house and barns valued, and two distinct parcels of land listed. He had 1 horse, 2 oxen, 2 cows, 2 three-year-olds (cattle?), 1 yearling and 2 swine.

Residents without property were also listed as polls. Notable in 1846 was a list of men with predominantly Irish surnames who may have been railroad workers. They were assessed 61 cents each.

George Beedy
David Dale
Michael Fitzpatrick
Michael Finn
Peter Mullen
William Finn
John Mahoney
James Russel
Thomas Shay
Angus Mcdonal
Michael Hafy
Michael Tracy
Michael Murphy
Cornelius Dunnevin
Michael Ryley

There was also a notation on a later page, indicating the distribution of funds among the 4 schools, “school money received of the Irish” at $3.45. This appears to be allocated to District 3, which was on the west side of town. If this was a group of railroad workers in that area,they could have been attached to the station at Grout’s Corner, across the river in the Town of Montague, or to the north at Northfield Farms.

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