“Town… Voted to get Mr. Reeve’s fire wood by rate.”

Today In History is on of the most interesting  ibrattleboro feature, even though it is almost never mentioned in stories or comments.

The April 3, 1775 news report fascinates me, even though I only have a hazy notion of its meaning.  I wonder if anyone can translate the 1775 language to make it more understandable in 2021:

Events for Apr 3, 1775

Town votes for compensation for a minister, Mr. Abner Reeve. “Voted to get Mr. Reeve’s fire wood by rate. Also voted not to have persons’ names put into the minister’s rate who have not signed the Covenant. Also, That the treasurer shall sue the collectors for the minister’s rate, if they neglect collecting the rates. Voted, further, to allow Mr. Reeve’s interest for his money if not punctually paid.”



Comments | 1

  • Some guesses

    I’ve always taken this to mean that the Town wanted a minister and voted to come up with a compensation package.

    I assumed “firewood by rate” meant that it had to be good, fair market firewood and not the cheap stuff. : ) It could, though, mean that the amount of payment in wood is an agreed upon amount? Maybe “we promise him $X of firewood” ? Or maybe that it will be bought, and not just given to him as a pile? Perhaps they will give him money to be spent on firewood?

    They used to charge people rent for pews. I’m guessing that second line is some sort of assurance that even if someone in the congregation hasn’t signed up to pay for the minister, they will be expected to pay.

    Third line seems to say that you can’t hide from this duty. The treasurer will collect money from you. Seems to indicate them collecting cash rather than wood.

    The final line seems to be an assurance to Reeves that they’ll hustle, and if not, he’ll be compensated.

Leave a Reply