Charlemont — Civil Organization

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      The first organization for the purposes of civil government was under the proprietors of the town, in obedience to the following warrant:

      "Whereas, the Great and General Court, on the first of December current, upon the petition of Moses Rice, of a place called Charlemont, in the County of Hampshire, being Boston Township, No. 1, in behalf of himself and others, did vote a tax of one penny per acre, lawful money, to be laid upon all the land in the within-named township (the public lands only excepted) for the space of three years next to come, and that the money so raised shall be improved for the following puposes, viz.: for finishing the meeting-house already agreed and engaged to be put up in said Township, for support of preaching, Encouraging the building of Mills, and for laying out and clearing Highways and other roads there, and in such manner and proportion as the Proprietors of the lands there shall order and determine at their meetings for such purposes called and held. And the said court did also empower the said Moses Rice to call a meeting of said proprietors, to be held in said Township, at some reasonable future time (by posting up notifications of the time and place and purposes of holding the same, at said Charlemont, and at Lancaster, in the county of Worcester), and that the Proprietors so met have power to choose a Clerk, Treasurer, Assessors and Collectors, and all other officers necessary for the assessing, levying, and collecting said tax from time to time, and to agree upon and determine the disposition of the money raised by said tax as they shall see meet, only for purposes aforesaid, and to agree upon any proper method of calling meetings for the future. These are, therefore (by virtue of said order of court we thereto impowering), to warn and give notice to the Proprietors of said Charlemont that they meet at said Charlemont, at the house of Moses Rice, on Wednesday, seventeenth day of January next, at ten o'clock in the forenoon, then and there to act upon the particulars aforesaid, and agreeable to the power given them by said court.
                                                        "Moses Rice.
"Dec. 9, 1752."

      At the above appointed meeting Capt. Rice was chosen moderator, and the following officers elected: Joseph Wilder, Jr., Proprietors' Clerk; Othniel Taylor, Treasurer; Eleazer Hawks, Moses Rice, and Joseph Wilder, Jr., Assessors; Jonathan White and Gershom Hawks, Collectors.
      It was agreed that all the proprietors' meetings should be held in Charlemont, on the notice of five of the proprietors, at least fourteen days before the time appointed for the meeting.
      For the following thirteen years the town was under the nominal rule of the proprietors, and the records of the most of their meetings have been lost. The last meeting was held June 5, 1765, at the house of David White, when Col. White, Othniel Taylor, and Aaron Rice were appointed to secure the incorporation of the town, which was effected June 21, 1765. Under this act a warrant was issued by Thos. Williams for the first meeting, to be held at the house of David White, Jan. 6, 1766. At this meeting Aaron Rice was Moderator, and Sylvanus Rice was chosen Town Clerk; Aaron Rice, Jonathan Taylor, and Othniel Taylor, Selectmen and Assessors; David White, Treasurer; Daniel Kingsley, Constable; David White and Jonathan Thayer, Highway Surveyors; Jonathan Hastings and William Brown, Tithingmen; Peter Rice and Artemas Rice, Fence-Viewers; Wm. Brown, Sealer of Leather; Othniel Taylor, Gershom Hawks, and Dependence Thayer, Wardens; Caleb Thayer and Thomas Nichols, Hog-Reeves; Oliver Avery and Jonathan Taylor, Deer-Reeves.

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