SALEM  MASSACHUSETTS

OVERSEERS OF THE POOR
CLERK'S record

[ clerk  was Daniel P. Fitz ]

VOL. 17

January 1870 - February 1879

This wonderful original handwritten ledger contains the records
of the Clerk [i.e corresponding secretary] of the Overseers.
It contains verbatim copies of letters written to people regarding
the business of determining who was or was not eligible to receive assistance (or have their bills paid elsewhere) from the poor relief officials of this community.  Also included are letters to similar officials in other communities requesting reimbursement for "paupers" living in Salem who had their legal "settlement" (what we would call a legal residence) elsewhere.   

Note: You may read more about this system of poor relief
by Overseers of the Poor on our
History page.

 

Click on  items
listed to the right
to see SCANNED
IMAGES of  sample  pages
.
Poor relief records contain much data of genealogical interest; however they also contain much historical information.

We find clues about:  community health problems (epidemics of smallpox, etc.), economic conditions (panics & depressions), natural disasters (fires, floods, etc.) -- and even the weather!

Transcript of  INDEX of Names (as kept by the Clerk)
Note: Not all those named on these pages were included
in the index done by the clerk. We will soon be posting
a supplemental index to include those also. And we will
list the names of the various communities mentioned. PHL

 

  • Reimbursement received from the State Board of Charities
    for a non-resident (born in Nova Scotia) -- who had lived
    in Salem for 12 years but was never naturalized and had paid
    no taxes -- who is ill.

  • Refusal of outdoor relief (requiring almshouse residence instead)
    [This is a poor quality scan, but we have provided transcription.]

  • Tax Dispute to determine qualification for "legal residence"
    in order to know which town is responsible for relief.
    [And we thought "red tape" & paperwork were something new!]

  • Medical Claim denial appealed
    [And we though the hassles of  "managed health care"
    were also something recent!]

And much much more!

Hopefully someone in the Salem area will consider
transcribing the rest of this book and publishing it
for the use of historians and genealogists.
                                                                   PHL

 

Return to MASSACHUSETTS         HOME