(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 license law was passed in Massachusetts stating that each dog owner should pay a yearly tax and be responsible for giving the dog a collar. The collar was to have on it the name and town of the owner. Mr. Hoyt wrote a formal letter of gentle protest stating that he was the "true sole & lawfull Owner of a small spotted dog (of the cur breed) commonly known ...as Bug Hoyt" and that he would follow the law by giving the dog a brass collar with the right label. Elihu Hoyt went on to serve in the legislature in 1803, and served there 27 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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