Town Expenses, Gloucester c. 1800s

As Gloucester grew in the 1800s, town affairs became more complicated. This document shows more attention to money owed to and expended by the town for services to its residents. New town jobs include selectmen and assessors, tax collectors, surveyors of highways, police officers and fire “engine men”. Various committees are mentioned and it is clear that Gloucester is a thriving and active town.

The Selectmen present the following estimate of the probable expenses of their department(s)(for) the current (year) exclusive of grants made at the annual March meeting.

Compensation1 for land take in Front and other streets1500
Services of the Selectmen and Assessors550
Commissions to Collectors of Taxes500
Abatement2 of Taxes425
Due & Will be required to purchase school books300
Interest due on Thomas Perkins note to 24th instant376
Do4. Due & 10 percent of Principal of H. Perkins note to 15 Nov224
Extra Bills of Surveyors5 of highways and clearing roads of snow400
Assessors services taking the State valuation6150
Building sea wall near Burying place at Sandy Bay100
School Committee services visiting schools100
Services of Committee & Surveys on Goose Cove100
Printing Town Reports, Tax bills and advertising35
Ordinary repairs on the several Engines725
Police Officers’ salary $25, Committee on Town Affairs $1237
Mrs Baker, privilege of passing through pasture25
Zachariah Stevens, do the mill dam10
Use of Hall for Town Meetings $1525
Warning Meetings8, Ringing bells, & powder60
Deduct monies in the Treasury not appropriated-200
Sum wanted$4440

An engine house 2 stories, 15 feet by 19, is asked for in lieu9 of one near Phelps corner, probable cash $250.

A reservoir under the place where Henry Smith’s shop stood, is requested to be made, probably 20 ft. long, 10 ft wide, 6 deep; estimated cost $320.
Sundry10 necessary articles are asked for Engines No. 1, 2, 3, &4 per statements herewith, estimated cost $125.

All of which is respectfully submitted by William Ferson, Selectman

1 Compensation = payment for
2 Abatement = reduction
3 Instant = as of today
4 Do = ”ditto” the same as the above
5 Surveyors = people who measure land
6 State valuation = figuring out property values for the State taxes
7 Engines = fire engines
8 Warning meetings = posting the agenda for the town meetings
9 In lieu = in exchange for
10 Sundry = various


Town Expenses (c. 1800s). Gloucester Archives, Gloucester, MA.