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  • A 1789 Tax List of Conway, New Hampshire

    Anthony K. Van Riper

    Published Date : April 1989
     Following is a transcription of the names found in "an inventory of the town of Conway, New Hampshire for the year 1789."  This was actually a poll tax list, or early head count of town residents and some non-residents participating in the community.
    The 1790 U.S. Census, or the first official Federal decennial census, was taken the next year.  A comparison of the two lists reveals additional names in this “inventory” or census, and thus it may be useful to researchers of New Hampshire, particularly as New Hampshire vital records are as yet unpublished.  With the help of the Farrington Fund, established by Mrs. John E. Smith, Trustee of the Society, New Hampshire vital records publishing projects are underway, but there are many more towns to be done.  The NEXUS welcomes article-length (five to 10 page) transcriptions of town or county records from New England or beyond.

    The document measures 6 by 7 1/2 inches and is columnar.  The 12 columns headings are, from the left:  Polls, arable, Mowing, Pastureing, Horses, oxen, Cows, 3 year olds, 2 year olds, 1 year olds, Building & Real Estate, and mills.  Real estate was taxed at 1/10 of 1 percent of the assessed valuation, or 1 shilling in every 10.  The categories of 3, 2, and 1 year olds refer to cattle, a measure of wealth in those days.  The amount of tax levied for each person on the list is shown.

    The poll tax was included in the assessment, at 10 shillings per person.  The inventory listed 120 polls for a total of £60.  Several people are charged with 2 polls, and some with none.  The plus sign “+“ is used to indicate two polls, and an asterisk “*” indicates no poll tax was charged.  The use of the long “s” in the 18th-century hand is not noted. A question mark follows words not clearly legible.  Otherwise, the following is a literal transcription with original spellings and variants.

    Pages 1 through 7 list the residents of the town.  Non-residents are recorded on page 8.  Page 9 is a summary page with annotatiom.  The original manuscript is among the collections of the Conway Public Library.

    [59]

          Name       £       s           d    Real estate Value, in £


    Page 1

    Abbott, Ephraim      0      13      6      --

    Abbot, Jeremiah      1      4      6      20

    Allen, David      0      14      6      5

    Allard, David      1      3      1      --

    +Burbank, Ebenzer      4      8      4      200

    +Boswell, John      1      14      0      10

    Been, Ebenezer      2      5      11      20

    Been, Duglas              0      10      0

    Barns, Amos      1      0      0

    Baley, Thomas      1      12      0

    Chase, John      3      4      9      140

    Chase, Josiah      1      0      6      10

    Chase, Thomas      0      18      0

    Coock, Abrahan?           10      0


    Page 2

    Coffin, Peter      1      2      0      10

    Coffin, Nicholas      1      0      0      10

    Croos, E. Daniel      0      14      0      10

    Coffin, Ben janhin      1      10      0      --

    Crocker, Ralon?      1      1      6      15

    Colby, Asa      0      12      0      --

    Danford, Eliphelet      0      23      6      5

    Dollof, John      2      6      8      40

    Dollof, Josiah      2      3      6      40

    +Densmore, Capt.      2      13      0      60

    Densmore, Elijah Junr      1      8      6      10

    Densmore, Stephen      1      1      0      10


    Page 3

    Emery, James      1      5      6      5

    Eastman, Noah      1      3      0      --

    +Eastrnan, Richard      3      5      0      40

    Eastman, Abiathar      2      5      10      50

    Emerson, Samuel      0      17      0      --

    Edds, Isaac      0      12      0      --

    Ferrington, Jeremiah      2      2      2      40

    Farnum, Ebenezer      0      16      4      15

    George, David      1      15      0      30

    George, Austen      0      10      0      --

    Gentleman, Philip      0      10      0      --

    Hariman, Leonard      1      9      6      10

    +Heriman, Philip      2      1      0      10

    Hariman, John      0      10      0      --

    +Hariman, Nathaniel      1      7      6      --


    Page 4

    Hort, John      1      15      2      40

    Herrold, James      1      6      0      20

    Heath, Joshua      2      12      10      60

    +Hayward, Samuel      1      4      5      --

    Hill, Charles Esq.      0      17      6      10

    Hill, Henry      1      3      0      --

    Johnson, Samuel      1      3      0      --

    Knox, William      2      8      2      40

    Kelly, Joshua               5      6      10

    Kelly, Edmund      0      15      0      10

    +King, Thomas      4      1      8      75

    Kimble, Richard      1      2      6      10

    Lary, Daniel      0      10      0      --

    Lovejoy, Abiel, Dea.      2      4      6      40

    Lovejoy, Jere 0      19      6      --

    Lovejoy, Abiel      0      11      6      --

    Loud, Joseph      23      3      1      --


    Page 5

    Luis, Joseph      0      16      3      --

    +McMillan, Andrew      6      0      8      305

    McMillan, Luis?      0      13      0      --

    Mclintick, Robard?      0      13      0      --

    Merrill, Enoch      2      17      10      40

    *Executor of Esq.

    MerrilPs last will 2      2      2      60

    *Elizabeth Merrill      0      12      0      --

    Merrill, Amos      1      16      6      30

    Merrill, Thomas      2      5      6      40

    +Osgood, Benjamin      3      6      1      40

    Osgood, William      0      10      0      0

    +Osgood, James      3      1      8      40

    Osgood, Moses      0      13      8      20

    Osgood, John      1      0      0      20

    *Osgood, B. Joshua Esq.      0      12      0      40

    +Odil, Joseph      2      9      6      40

    Odil, Joseph Junr   0      12      0      10


    Page 6

    +Page, David Esq.      3      15      4      60

    Page, Robert      0      15      0      --

    Page, Jeremiah      1      14      0      30

    Pike, Robert      0      10      0      --

    Rusel, Thomas      2      12      4      30

    Russel, ThomasJunr      0      10      0      --

    Rendal, Moses      1      18      0      40

    Royse, Vere      0      17      11      10

    Rendal, Hezekiah      2      5      0      40

    Rockwel, Joseph?      0      10      0      --

    Seveay, Jonathan      0      15      0      10

    *Shurbourn, Henry      0      13      0      20

    Steal, William      1      5      9      10

    Smith, John      0      10      0      --

    +Springer, Samuel      2      4      10      20

    Thompson, Joseph      3      0      6      80

    Thompson, John      1      4      0      30

    Spring, Jedediah      1      7      6      15


    Page 7

    Wille, Samuel      2      0      6      40

    White, William      1      19      2      15

    +Walker, Ezekiel      3      2      4      40

    +Webster, Enoch      1      16      4      15

    Webster, William      0      10      0      --

    Webster, Stephen      1      17      4      25

    *Webster, John Lt      1      3      6      20

    Walker, Barnet      1      8      0      30

    Wilson, John      1      19      2      30

    Wilson, Moses      0      10      0      --

    Chadbourn, WilliamJunr      0      16      6      15

    Cenna, Benjamin      1      0      0      30

    Cenna. William      0      10      0      --


    [60]

    Thomas, Russel

    guardian for Jonathan

    Merrill               0      10      0


    Page 8 is headed “Non-Residents.’  And of them, only David Copp and Seth Spring had made any improvements [buildings] on their land.  Both maintained hay lots, and Copp had land classified as “arable.”


                            Real estate Value      Tax

    David Copp, Esq.      two rights      £60 16s

    Seth Spring      two first division      40  7

    John Temple, Esq.      one right      30  3

    Mark H. wintworth?      one right      30  3

    Samuel White, Esq.      hundred acres      10  1

    Joseph Whipple, Esq.      one whole right      30  3

    John Webster, Esq.      one whole right      30  3

    Henry Y. Brown, Esq.      one whole right      30  3

    Jonathan Warner, Esq.      one right      30  3

    Heirs of Godfry Rust      two hundred acres      20  2

    Mason Proprietors      1500 acres £10 each      150  15

    Heirs of Joseph Sims      one whole right      30  3

    Robert Hewitt              20  2


    The summary of the inventory is found on page 9:

          Total of       Nos      Sums

          Pol[l]s      120      £60, 0s. 0d

          Arrable, Mowing            482      24, 2, 0

          Pasturage     210      4, 7, 6

          Horses, Oxen       178      26, 14, 0

          Cows      160      16, 0, 0

          3 years old       54      4, 1, 0

          2 year old 77      3, 17, 0

          1 year old 116      2, 18, 0

          Estate&c     3115      15, 15, 6

                            £157, 15, 0


    To the right of the table is a list showing: “indent tax made by a table of 7/6 on the pound.” Other taxes included in this list were:
                            Specie tax  3/6 on the pound

          Town tax  5/5      d:0

          Minister tax  9/7      d:o

          School tax  7/11      d:0

          County tax  /10      d:0


    There is a note at the bottom of the page: “Benjamin Cenna 2 acres improved Land over taxed.”


    Note:      According to William Thorndale’s “Land and Tax Records” in The Source (1984), pp. 235-3 6, colonial towns levied a poll or head tax on all adult males between ages 21 and 50 (or from 16 to 60, varying from town to town).  Certain town residents were exempted from the poll tax: ministers, justices of the peace, and militia officers, for example.  Neither would women, slaves, indentured servants, or children be included in poll tax lists.  Poll tax lists, combined with land tax lists, can serve as censuses for years not covered by the Federal or state censuses and are usefnl to genealogists and local historians tracing migrations of individuals or groups to and from an area.
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