Lineage Society, Sources of Service

Did Connecticut pay the 1780 beef tax?

The simple answer: yes.

“And be it further enacted That a tax of two shillings and six pence on the pound be and the same is hereby laid upon the polls and rateable estate of the inhabitants of this State upon the list aforesaid to be paid by the first day of December next in silver and gold or in the articles of provisions and cloathing as follows […]”

“[…] of said tax shall on proper application to them made deliver over to the Commissary of Provisions or Cloathing the aforesaid as are proper for their respective departments […]”

These paragraphs, pulled from pages 384 and 385 of the Public Records of the State of Connecticut, describe a tax in 1780 levied specifically to supply the Continental Army.

The major question: where did the records of this tax end up? The Connecticut Historical Society cites a record of Branford’s payment among its manuscripts, although it appears to be a summary list and does not list all payees. Given that the tax appears to refer to the previous “grand list” – or list of those who owed taxes, most likely the list of who paid the tax could be determined by referring to the town meeting minutes and any surviving grand lists.