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Hampshire ss-- To the Assessors of
the Town of Deerfield-- Greeting-

Whereas the Great & General Court
of this Commonwealth, have been pleased
in their Wisdom to enact a law, Whereby all
people who shall presume, after the first day
of April in the year of Our Lord one thousand
seven-hundred & ninety-eight, to own or keep
any dog or dogs, of any discription whatever,
shall be subject to an annual tax therein
mention’d, & Whereas sd act provides
that such Owner or keeper of any dog or dogs
shall for the greater safety of the sd dogs
life, provide a good collar, of some kind
with the Owner or Owners name & that of the town
or plantation thereon at large, where he they
or she may reside, & cause the same to be worn
by the sd dog or dogs & Whereas sd act
Obliges the sd Owner or Owners to Certify
the number of dogs by him or them so own’d
or kept to the assessors of such town or

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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In 1798, a dog licensing law was passed in Massachusetts providing that each dog owner shall pay an annual tax and be responsible for providing the dog with a collar. The collar was to contain the name and town of the owner. Mr. Hoyt has written a formal letter of subtle protest declaring that he is the "true sole & lawfull Owner of a small spotted dog (of the cur breed) commonly known ...as Bug Hoyt" and that he will follow the law by dressing the dog with a brass collar suitably engraved. Elihu Hoyt went on to serve in the legislature in 1803 and served there twenty-seven years. He was born and brought up in the Old Indian House in Deerfield.


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Letter to Deerfield Assessors by Colonel Elihu Hoyt

creator   Elihu Hoyt (1771-1833)
date   Apr 1, 1798
location   Deerfield, Massachusetts
height   9.0"
width   7.5"
process/materials   manuscript, paper, ink
item type   Legal Documents/Government/Society Records
accession #   #L99.166

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See Also...

Colonel Elihu Hoyt (1771-1833)

"A Brief Sketch of the First Settlement of Deerfield, Mass."

Letter to Samuel Wells from Colonel Elihu Hoyt

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