Manuscript document, 1p, 7.875 x 12.875 in., Amherst, MA. February 1, 1828. This document, from the "overseers of the Poor," records the expenses of the recently deceased infant, Jerusha Douglass, who is described as "a Native of the Mohegan tribe - a wanderer upon the Earth - Seven weeks and three days..." Listed costs associated with boarding and taking care of the baby, including the price of her coffin and burial, total $21.73. "The above account is the whole of the expense of the deceased...This on behalf of the Town of Amherst and by order of the overseers of the Poor for said Town." Signed by town selectman and overseer of the poor, Thomas Hastings (1782-1858), on February 19, 1828. Verso inscription reads, "Town of Amherst / This has been allowed in another acct. / June 1828."
Originally created by English Poor Laws in the seventeenth century, the formal position of Overseer of the Poor was purposed to provide poor relief by collecting a tax from parish members and distributing the money as necessary to provide food, clothing, and shelter for the community's poor. This tradition carried over into the American colonies, with cities electing their own Overseers to administer to the impoverished among them.
Document with a few small holes (at creases), horizontal creases, some spotting, and discoloration/wear to edges and corners including small rips/tears with very light paper loss.
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