(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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
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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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