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"Annual Report of the Treasuer, Selectmen, and School Committee, To the Inhabitants of the Town of Deerfield"

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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By 1880, the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts, was paying one-third of its budget for the care of the poor of the town. When the state-mandated support for the families of soldiers who died during the Civil War is added in, more than 43% of the town's funds were going for these social welfare programs. The town's budget was crimped in other places, as noted in the School Committee's report, which acidly observed that the voters seemed to care more for the supervision of their "horses, their oxen, their lands, the roads" than the education of their children. There would be some relief for the town in the coming decades, but in general the budgets of towns like Deerfield would continue to be stressed by these concerns until the federal government was forced to step in during the Great Depression of the 1930s.


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