The Town of Beverly, as many early New England villages, had a history of trouble with fires. Consequently, their town records are full of salety measures to protect from unwanted fires. The first page of this document, the beginning of a small book, makes clear that the use of fire by townspeople is to be closely monitored.
BY-LAWS OF BEVERLY.
To prevent Danger from Fires.
BONFIRES – NONE SHALL BE MADE IN THE STREETS.
IT IS ORDERED – That no person or persons shall presume to make any bonfires, or set on fire any wood, straw, shavings, or other combustible matter, by night or by day, in any street, lane or alley, or in any private or public yard, in this town, or make any bonfire in any part of the town, on the evenings of the fifth day of November, in any year hereafter – under the penalty of forfeiting and paying the sum of THREE DOLLARS THIRTY-THREE CENTS. Provided, nevertheless, that this order shall be understood or intended to debar or hinder any tradesman or others from kindling charcoal in a pot or pan out of doors nigh their house or shop at any time
“By-Laws of Beverly,” 1805. Beverly Historical Society, Beverly, MA.
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