Tax List of the City of St. John
as published in the newspaper ‘The Watchman’
commencing Saturday, August 28, 1875
By Ruby M. Cusack
Dad had removed the hub nut from the wheel of the wagon. Gramp took a kindling stick and filled the axle with grease. Before they had completed this messy chore, Claude came driving into the yard in his blue Chev half ton pickup.
The three men leaned against the wagon and soon became engaged in a serious discussion. Although I listened carefully, I didn’t understand their comments about taxes and how unfair the system was.
It seems that many years before these men were even born, the newspaper ‘The Watchman” agreed with them and published over a period of days, a list of the Rate Payers of the City of Saint John for the year 1875 with the amount of the taxes assessed to each. In many instances the occupation of the payer was given.
On the Eastern side of the harbor:
George W. Anning was a gent and his taxes were $81.03.
Grocer Charles M Bostwick’s was $244.05.
John Cunningham, piano tuner, $13.95.
Jeremiah Donovan, sailmaker, $10.05.
James Gallagher, butcher, $10.05.
John Fisher, shipbuilder, $415.65.
Alexander Jordan, laborer, $2.25.
John F. Lloyd, merchant, $202.71.
Marion Marter $27.50.
James H. Nickerson, watchman, $72.45.
Peter O’Brien, trader, $2.25.
Charles Patton, grocer, $52.95.
Hon. John Robertson $1630.20.
Alfred A. Stockton, barrister, $88.05.
James P. Stackhouse, sloven driver, $10.05.
James Tole, fisherman, $27.99.
Joseph H. Valpey, shoe dealer, $257.40.
Michael Wisted, teamster, $20.97
George Young, cooper, $33.45.
On the western side of the harbor:
Isaac Ashley, laborer, $8.35.
George Bissett, seaman, $8.35.
Anthony Collins, servant, $8.35.
Matthias Ferguson, pedlar, $19.60.
Nathaniel Gough, teacher, $8.35.
William Munson, mariner, $15.40.
John McAuley, laborer, $15.85.
David Wallace, contractor, $3.25.
On the eastern side of the harbor, the tax for many was $10.05, while on the western side $8.35 was a very common one.
The introduction to the newspaper article states, “From information received, we have been led to the conclusion that the levy is inequitable in many instances, but with the figures before him, each ratepayer will be enabled to judge for himself as to the degree of intelligence which has been brought to bear on the preparation of this list.”
Although the intent of ‘The Watchman” was to provide the residents of 1875 with a complete list of the ratepayers and their assessment it has led to becoming a valuable finding aid in doing genealogical research in the City of Saint John.
‘The Watchman’ of August 28, 1875 is on microfilm. Printouts of this list can be found at the Saint John Free Public Library in the CB Drawer labelled, “Oversize”.
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No Querires used this week.
Ruby is a genealogy buff. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at email@example.com. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.