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In the record of deaths, the date of the death, the name of the deceased, the sex, the color, the condition, (whether single, widowed, or married,) the age, the residence, the occupation, the place of death, the place of birth, the names and places of birth of the parents, the disease or cause of death, the place of burial, and the date of the record.

notice of

SECT. 2. Parents shall give notice to the clerk of their city or town Parents and of the births and deaths of their children; every householder shall give others to give like notice of every birth and death happening in his house; the eldest and deaths. R. S. § 47. person next of kin shall give such notice of the death of his kindred; 1839, 135. the keeper of a workhouse, house of correction, prison, hospital, or alms- 1855, 366. house, except the state almshouses at Tewksbury, Bridgewater, and Monson, and the master or other commanding officer of any ship shall give like notice of every birth and death happening among the persons under his charge. Whoever neglects to give such notice for the space of six months after a birth or death, shall forfeit a sum not exceeding five dollars.


SECT. 3. Any physician having attended a person during his last Physician to illness, shall, when requested within fifteen days after the decease of certify, &c. such person, forthwith furnish for registration a certificate of the duration of the last sickness, the disease of which the person died, and the date of his decease, as nearly as he can state the same. If any physician refuses or neglects to make such certificate, he shall forfeit and pay the sum of ten dollars to the use of the town in which he resides.

SECT. 4. Every sexton, undertaker, or other person having charge of a burial-ground, or the superintendent of burials having charge of the obsequies or funeral rites preliminary to the interment of a human body, shall forthwith obtain and return to the clerk of the city or town in which the deceased resided or the death occurred, the facts required by this chapter to be recorded by said officer concerning the deceased, and the person making such return shall receive from his city or town the fee of ten cents therefor.

returns to city

Sextons and others to make and town clerks. 1844, 159, § 4. 1819, 202, § 3.


The clerk, upon recording such facts, shall forthwith give to the per- Clerk to give son making such return, a certificate that such return has been made, certificate. which certificate such person shall deliver to the person having charge of the interment, if other than himself, before the burial when practicable, otherwise within seven days thereafter. When a burial takes place and no certificate is delivered as aforesaid, the sexton, undertaker, or other person having charge of the interment, shall forthwith give notice thereof to the clerk under penalty of twenty dollars.

to transmit

tary state.

SECT. 5. The clerk of each city and town shall annually on or before the first day of February, transmit to the secretary of the commonwealth, copies to secrecertified copies of the records of the births, marriages, and deaths, which 1844, 159, § 1. have occurred therein during the year ending on the last day of the 1849, 202, § 5. preceding December.

SECT. 6. The record of the town clerk relative to any birth, mar- record of, to riage, or death, shall be prima facie evidence, in legal proceedings, of be evidence. the facts recorded. The certificate signed by the (town clerk for the time being shall be admissible as evidence of any such record.

SECT. 7. The clerk shall receive from his city or town for obtaining, fees of, &c. recording, indexing, and returning to the secretary of the common- 1849, 202, §§ 2, & wealth, the facts in relation to a birth, twenty cents; a marriage, ten cents; a death, twenty cents for each of the first twenty entries, and ten cents for each subsequent entry, as the same shall be certified by the secretary of the commonwealth; but a city or town containing more than ten thousand inhabitants may limit the aggregate compensation allowed to their clerk. He shall forfeit a sum not less than twenty nor more than one hundred dollars for each refusal or neglect to perform any duty required of him by this chapter.

SECT. 8. The superintendents of the state almshouses at Tewksbury, SuperintendBridgewater, and Monson, shall obtain, record, and make return of, the almshouses to

in re

record, return, facts in relation to the births and deaths which occur in their respective lation to births, institutions, in like manner as is required of town clerks. The clerks of said towns shall, in relation to the births and deaths of persons in said almshouses, be exempt from the duties otherwise required of them by this chapter.

1855, 366.


1849, 202, § 5.

SECT. 9. The secretary shall at the expense of the commonwealth prepare and furnish to the clerks of the several cities and towns, and to the superintendents of the state almshouses, blank books of suitable 1844, 159, §§ 6, 7. quality and size to be used as books of record under this chapter, blank books for indexes thereto, and blank forms för returns, on paper of uniform size; and shall accompany the same with such instructions and explanations as may be necessary and useful. City and town clerks shall make such distribution of blank forms of returns furnished by the secretary as he shall direct.

Secretary to furnish blank

books and

forms for re

to cause returns to be bound, &c.

to report to legislature, &c. 1844, 159, § 7. 1849, 202, § 5.

Registrars may be chosen in certain cases. 1849, 202, § 1.

Secretary to prosecute for penalty.

SECT. 11. Any city or town containing more than ten thousand inhabitants, may choose a person other than the clerk to be registrar, who shall be sworn, and to whom all the provisions of this chapter concerning clerks shall apply. The returns and notices required to be made and given to clerks shall be made and given to such registrar under like penalties.

SECT. 12. The secretary of this commonwealth shall prosecute, by an action of tort, in the name of the commonwealth, for the recovery of any penalty or forfeiture imposed by this [chapter] [act].

Towns may

SECT. 13. Any city or town may make rules and regulations to make additional enforce the provisions of this chapter, or to secure a more perfect regis


tration of births, marriages, and deaths, therein.

Cities and

towns may provide work

SECT. 10. The secretary shall cause the returns received by him for each year to be bound together in one or more volumes with indexes thereto. He shall prepare from the returns such tabular results as will render them of practical utility, make report thereof annually to the legislature, and do all other acts necessary to carry into effect the provisions of this chapter.

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SECTION 1. A city or town may erect or provide a workhouse or almshouse for the employment and support of poor and indigent per


ted thereto.

sons who are maintained by or receive alms from the city or town; houses or almspersons who, being able of body to work and not having estate or persons who means otherwise to maintain themselves, refuse or neglect to work; may be commitpersons who live a dissolute, vagrant life, and exercise no ordinary call- It. S. 16, 1. ing or lawful business; persons who spend their time and property in R. S. 46, § 4. public houses to the neglect of their proper business, or who, by otherwise misspending what they earn to the impoverishment of themselves and their families, are likely to become chargeable to the city or town; and other persons sent thereto under any provisions of law.

1857, 153.

SECT. 2. No city or town shall erect or maintain an almshouse or Towns, &c., not house of correction within the limits of any other place, without the to erect almsconsent of such other place.

house, &c., in other place, &c. 1848, 291.

R. S. 16, §§ 2, 3.

SECT. 3. Every city or town having a workhouse or almshouse may Directors of annually choose three, five, seven, or more directors, who shall have the workhouse, • inspection and government thereof, and who may appoint a master and master, &c. necessary assistants, for the more immediate care and superintendence of the persons received or employed therein. Where such directors are not specially chosen, the overseers of the poor shall be the directors.

R. S. 16, § 4.

SECT. 4. Once in every month, and at other times as occasion may Meetings of direquire, the directors shall hold meetings for the purpose of determin-rectors ing the most eligible mode of discharging their duties. At such monthly meetings they may make needful orders and regulations for the house, which shall be binding until the next meeting of the town or of the city council, when the same shall be submitted to such meeting, and if approved shall remain in force until revoked by the town or the city council.

SECT. 5. Any number of cities or towns may at their joint charge Towns may and for their common use erect or provide a workhouse or almshouse, workhouse. jointly provide and purchase land for the use thereof.

R. S. 16, § 5.

R. S. 16, § 6.

SECT. 6. The ordering, governing, and repairing, of such house, the Joint board of appointment of a master and necessary assistants, and the power of directors. removing them for misconduct, incapacity, or other sufficient cause, shall be vested in a joint board of directors, who shall be chosen annually by the several places interested.

rectors, &c.

SECT. 7. Unless all the places interested in such house shall agree to Each place to choose a different number, each of them shall choose three members of choose three dithe board; and in case of the death of a director, or of his removal R. S. 16, §§ 7, 8. from the place for which he was chosen, the vacancy may be supplied by such place. If a place neglects to choose directors, those chosen by the other places shall have the whole charge of the house.

of directors.

SECT. 8. Stated quarterly meetings of the board shall be holden on Quarterly and the first Tuesdays of January, April, July, and October, at the work- other meetings house or almshouse under their charge, for the purpose of inspecting R. S. 16, § 9. the management and directing the business thereof. Meetings of the board may be called at other times by the directors chosen by any place interested, they giving notice of the time and purpose thereof to the other members of the board in such manner as shall have been agreed upon at a stated meeting.

SECT. 9. The board of directors may choose a moderator; and at Board may their first general meeting they shall appoint a clerk, who shall be sworn for and clerk. and shall record all votes and orders of the board.


R. S. 16, § 10.

SECT. 10. At a general quarterly meeting, if one-half of the members are present, they may make reasonable orders and by-laws not laws, &c. repugnant to the laws of the commonwealth for ordering and regulating compensation the house under their charge, and may agree with the master and R. S. 16, §§ 11, assistants, and order a suitable compensation for their services.

may make by. may allow to master, &c.


SECT. 11. Other matters may be acted upon at any other meeting may act upon duly notified, if one-third of the members are present; but the doings other matters. of such meetings may be altered or revised at any general stated meeting.

R. S. 16, § 12.


of master, &c., places interest

to be paid by


R. S. 16, § 13.

Any place refusing to contribute to expenses, shall not use house. R. S. 16, § 16.

Remedy against

ing to pay.
R. S. 16, § 14.
1852, 312.

SECT. 13. If a place refuses or neglects to advance or reimburse its places neglect proportion of the sums of money mentioned in the preceding section, or of any other charges mentioned in this chapter, after the same have been adjusted by the joint board of directors, the same may be recovered of such delinquent place in an action of contract brought by any person whom the board shall in writing appoint for that purpose. SECT. 14. No greater number of persons belonging to a city or town send more than shall be received into such workhouse or almshouse, than such city's or

Towns not to

their proportion, &c.

R. S. 16, § 15.

Masters to
keep register of
persons com-
mitted, &c.

R. S. 16, § 18.

R. S. 16, § 19.
Profits and
earnings, how
K. S. 16, § 23.

SECT. 16. Each place may furnish such additional materials, implements, furnish materi- and means of work, as the overseers of the poor thereof may choose, for

Each place may

als, &c., for per

sons committed the employment of any person committed to such house; and the master

by its author


R. S. 16, § 17.

of the house shall receive the same, and keep them separate from those of the other places, and shall be accountable to each place interested, as well for the cost as for all profits and earnings made by the labor of the persons committed to said house from such place.

SECT. 17. The master of each workhouse and almshouse shall keep a register of the names of the persons committed or received, the places to which they belong, the dates of their reception and discharge, and of their respective earnings, to be submitted to the overseers of the poor upon their request.

How persons
may be dis-
R. S. 16, § 20.
1859, 196.

SECT. 12. The yearly compensation of the master and assistants, (in addition to the allowance hereafter provided in this chapter for their services,) and also the expense of keeping the house in repair, shall be paid by the several places interested, in proportion to their state tax at the time when the expense may have been incurred, or in such proportion as the places interested shall agree.

Persons com-
mitted to be
kept employed.
R. S. 16, § 21.


SECT. 18. Controversies between the masters and the overseers of between master the poor of any place respecting the accounts or other official doings of the masters, shall be determined by the directors of the house at their general or quarterly meeting.

and overseers, how deter

SECT. 19. The profits and earnings arising from the work of persons committed to the workhouse or almshouse, with the stock remaining on hand, shall be disposed of as the overseers of the poor of the several places shall think proper, either to the use of their cities or towns, the persons committed, or their families.

Provisions respecting foreigners committed.

R. S. 16, § 22. 1852, 275.

town's proportion of such house, when the receiving of them would exclude or be inconvenient to such as belong to the other places interested.

SECT. 15. If any place refuses or neglects to provide its proportion of the necessary expenses of such house, or of the materials, implements, or other means, for performing the work there required, according to its agreement or the directions of the joint board of directors, such place shall be deprived of the privilege of sending any person thither during the time of such neglect or refusal.

SECT. 20. No person committed to the workhouse shall be discharged within the time for which he was committed, except by the police court or justice who made the commitment, the directors of the house at their general or quarterly meeting, or by the superior court, at any term held in the county where such house is situated, for good cause shown upon application for that purpose.

SECT. 21. Every person committed to a workhouse shall if able to work be kept diligently employed in labor during the term of his commitment. If he is idle and does not perform such reasonable task as is assigned, or is stubborn and disorderly, he shall be punished according to the orders and regulations established by the directors.

SECT. 22. When a person not having a legal settlement in this state shall become idle or indigent, he may be committed to the workhouse to be there employed, if able to labor, in the same manner and under the same rules as other persons there committed.

SECT. 23. A workhouse or almshouse may be discontinued or appro- Workhouses priated to any other use, when the place or places interested so deter- may be disconmine.

R. S. 16, § 24.

SECT. 24. Nothing contained in this chapter shall affect any powers Construction of or privileges heretofore granted to cities or towns, or the overseers of this chapter. R. S. 16, § 25. the poor thereof, by acts specially relating to workhouses or almshouses therein.




1. Watch, cities, &c., may establish.


duties and powers of.

3. badges and weapons of.

4. Selectmen, &c, may order watch, &c., where none is established.

5. Persons liable to watch, &c.

6. Persons exempt.

7. Penalty on persons liable, &c., refusing, &c. 8. Watch districts may be established in villages.

9. Selcetmen, &c., to notify meeting, upon application in writing, &c.

10. Proceedings when village is situated in two or more towns.


11. Clerk.

12. Prudential committee.

13. Annual meetings for choice of officers.
14. Meetings, how called, &c.

15. Districts may raise money, which shall be
under charge of prudential committee, &c.
16. Clerk shall certify to assessors amount to
be raised.

17. Duty of assessors, when district is situated
in two or more towns.

18. Territory adjoining a district, how an-

19. Watch districts heretofore organized.


SECTION 1. A city or town may establish and keep a watch and de- Watch, cities, termine the number and qualifications of the persons to be employed &c, may estabfor that purpose. The mayor and aldermen or selectmen shall appoint a R. S. 17, §§ 7, 8. suitable person to be officer of the watch, and direct the manner in which watchmen shall be equipped. The expense of the watch shall be defrayed in like manner as other town charges.

SECT. 2. The watch shall see that all disturbances and disorders are prevented and suppressed. During the night time they may examine all persons abroad whom they have reason to suspect of any unlawful design, demand of them their business abroad and whither they are going; may disperse any assembly of three or more such persons, and enter any building for the purpose of suppressing a riot or breach of the peace therein. Persons so suspected and not giving a satisfactory_account of themselves, persons so assembled and not dispersing when ordered, and persons making, aiding, or abetting in a riot or disturbance, may be arrested by the watch, and shall thereupon be safely kept, by imprisonment or otherwise, until the next morning, and then taken before a police court or some trial justice, to be examined and proceeded against.

SECT. 3. Officers and members of the watch, when on duty, may carry a club of not more than eighteen inches in length; shall wear such badge of office as the mayor or selectmen direct, and shall walk the rounds in and about the streets, lanes, wharves, and principal inhabited parts of the city or town, to prevent danger by fire, and to see that good order is kept.

duties and

powers of 1850, 186.

R. S. 17, § 4.

badges and weapons of R. S. 17, §§ 5, 6. 1855, 118.


SECT. 4. The mayor and aldermen or selectmen of any place wherein Selectmen, &c., no watch as above provided is established, may, from time to time, watch, &c., order a suitable watch to be kept in their place, and warn all persons where none is liable to watch and ward duty to perform the same. They may direct R. S. 17, §§ 3, 9. the number of the watch, the places and hours for keeping the same, may order in writing any constable or officer of the watch to warn such

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