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for the support of the poor,” etc., indexed under the head of “Inhabitancy.”
The first section of that Act provided for obtaining settlement as follows:
Section 1. It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont, That every person who shall purchase a freehold estate of the value of one hundred dollars, and shall have bona fide paid therefor, and shall actually occupy and improve the same for the term of one whole year; or shall actually and bona fide have rented and occupied a tenement of the yearly value of twenty dollars or upwards, for the term of two whole years, and actually paid such rent; and every person who shall inhabit in any town or place within this state, and shall for himself, or on his own account, have executed any public office or charge in such town or place, during one whole year, or shall have been charged with and paid his or her share of the public rates or taxes of such town or place for the space of two years; and every person who shall have been bound an apprentice or servant by indenture, or by any deed, contract or writing not indented, and shall in consequence of such binding, have served a term not less than three years next preceding the time of such apprentice's arriving at the age of twenty-one years, if a male, or at the age of eighteen years, if a female, in such town or place, shall be deemed and adjudged to have attained a legal settlement in such town or place; and every other healthy able bodied person coming and residing within this state, and being of peaceable behaviour, shall be deemed and adjudged to be legally settled in the town or place in which he or she shall have first resided for the space of one whole year; and every bastard child shall be deemed and adjudged to be settled in the town or place of the last legal settlement of his or her mother.
The Act contained provisions for ascertaining by the judgment of two justices of the peace whether newcomers were likely to become chargeable as poor to the town, and, if so, for transporting them out of the town, but it contained no provision authorizing other new-comers to be warned to leave the town.*
* Laws of Vermont, 1798, Chap. 18.
The first section of this Act was repealed November 6, 1801, by An act in addition to an act entitled “An act defining what
shall be deemed and adjudged a legal Settlement, and for the support of the poor, for designating the duties and powers of the overseers of the poor; and for the punishment of idle and disorderly persons," and for repealing part of the same.
SECTION 1. It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont, That whenever any person, or persons, shall come and reside within any town in this state, the select men of such town, may at their discretion, warn such person, or persons, to depart said town, which warning shall be directed to either constable of said town, and be in the following form, viz.
STATE OF VERMONT.
ss. To either Constable of A. in the county of B.
Greeting. You are hereby required to summon C. D. now residing in A. to depart said town. Hereof fail not, but of this precept, and your doings herein, due return make according to law.–Given under our hands, at A. this
day of A.D. 18
E. F. )
I. K. Which precept shall be served on such person, or persons, coming and residing as aforesaid, by such constable, in the same manner as is provided for the service of writs of summons, in the twenty-sixth section of the act, entitled “An act constituting the supreme and county courts, defining their power, and regulating judicial proceedings”; which precept the said constable shall return, with his proceedings thereon, to the town clerk of such town, within eight days after serving the same, which precept and return it shall be the duty of the town clerk to enter on the records of said town.
Sec. 2. And it is hereby further enacted, That each and every person removing into, and residing within any town in this state, who shall be warned as is prescribed in the preceding section of this act, shall not be deemed and adjudged to have gained a legal settlement in such town, unless such person or persons, is or are discharged from such warning, by a vote of said town, in a legal town meeting warned for said purpose.
Sec. 3. Provided nevertheless, And it is hereby further enacted, That if any person, or persons, removing into, and residing within any town in this state, shall by the inhabitants of such town, be chosen into either of the offices of select men, town clerk, constable, grand juror or lister, and serve the town in such capacity one whole year, he or they shall be considered as gaining a legal settlement in such town, any thing in this act to the contrary notwithstanding.
Sec. 4. And it is hereby further enacted, That all and every person coming into, and residing within any town in this state, who shall not be warned agreeably to the first section of this act, within one year after he or she removes into such town, shall be deemed and adjudged to have attained a legal settlement in such town.
AND WHEREAS difficulties have arisen in procuring two justices of the peace, not inhabitants of the towns concerned, to hear and determine certain causes, and issue certain warrants and orders, as mentioned in the act, to which this is an addition:
SEC. 5. It is hereby further enacted, That any two justices of the peace of the county, in which any town lies, which shall take any advantage of said act, shall to all intents and purposes, be competent to hear and determine any cause mentioned in said act, and to issue any warrant or order therein specified, whether they be inhabitants of such town or not, any thing in said act to the contrary notwithstanding.
Sec. 6. And it is hereby further enacted, That if any person who shall be removed from any town in this state, as provided in the third section of the act, to which this is an addition, shall return to reside within the same, without the permission of the select men of such town, and be thereof convicted, he, she or they shall be whipped, not exceeding ten stripes, at the discretion of the justice of the peace before whom such trial shall be had.
SEC. 7. And it is hereby further enacted, That the first section of the act to which this is an addition, be, and the same is hereby repealed. Passed November 6, 1801.*
* Acts and Laws of the State of Vermont at their Session at Newbury, in October, 1801, p. 8.
The practice of warning out under these Acts is shown by the following cases:
In Cornwall it was the custom for many years to serve a summons of warning out upon every newcomer, which was recorded with the officer's returns upon the town books. These warnings cover many pages of the records.*
In Newbury warning out was practised generally with regard to all new-comers. The selectmen issued a warrant, which the constables served and returned, and it was then recorded on the town records. In the first book of town proceedings there are 112 such warnings recorded, the first being January 5, 1787, the last November 12, 1816, when the law authorizing warning out was repealed. One of these warrants includes twenty-four different families. f.
In Hartford it was customary to warn out all newcomers, and hundreds of families were thus legally warned to depart. The last warnings were in 1817.
Warning out appears to have been most frequently practised in the new towns, probably because there were more new-comers in those towns, and the towns themselves were less able to bear the expense of supporting such persons as might become in need of public support. This was especially the case in those portions of Vermont along the Connecticut River into which a large immigration took place just after the War of the Revolution.
The process of warning out produced three kinds of fees to town officers: first, a fee to the selectmen for making the warrant; second, the fee to the constable
* Matthews, History of Cornwall, p. 309. † Wells, History of Newbury, Vermont, p. 286.
Tucker, History of Hartford, Vermont, p. 305.
for serving the warrant; and, third, a fee to the town clerk for recording the warrant and return of service.*
In Rockingham, which includes Bellows Falls, warnings out were very numerous.
July 24, 1769, it was voted in town meeting that “all Strangers who Com to Inhabit in said town Not being Freeholders, be warned out of town."
Pages of the town's records are filled by the returns of warrants warning people out of town. The warrants specified the names of all members of the family, sometimes eight or ten in number. One warrant contained the names of fifty persons. In 1808 thirtyone families were warned out, and in 1809 twenty-six.
The warnings of the warrants stated that they were made on complaint made to the selectmen. The last of these warnings was October 10, 1817.
In this town every new-comer, or stranger, was warned out under the vote of the town requiring all persons that “do come into the town to be at once warned out.” Of course, few people went because they were warned out. The only effect of the warning was that the persons warned could not afterwards obtain a settlement in the town so as to become chargeable to it for relief, unless they were elected to some town office. I
The form of warrant used in Rockingham was as follows:STATE OF VERMONT, | To either Constable of Rockingham in WINDHAM COUNTY ss. I the County of Windham Greeting:
You are hereby required to summon Samuel March & Tabatha March his Wife & Hannah March Prudence March Abigail March & Sarah March now residing in Rockingham to depart
* History of Newbury, Vermont, p. 286. | History of Rockingham, Vermont, p. 100 et seq. | Thomas B. Peck, Vital Records of Rockingham, Vermont, Boston, 1908.