From the Ephemera…..
By Linda McLoon
Next year we will be celebrating the bicentennial of Maine’s separation from Massachusetts in 1820. Before Maine became a state, the town of Scarborough answered to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In this document dated April 7, 1817, Scarborough selectmen ordered one of the town’s constables to announce an upcoming election in which one or more Scarborough residents would be chosen to represent the town at an upcoming meeting of the General Court in Boston.
Notice the requirements for being an eligible voter:
- Being male
- Minimum of 21 years of age
- Resident for at least one year
- Owning property in the town
- Having an annual income of three pounds
You are hereby required in the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to notify and warn the male inhabitants of said town, being twenty-one years of age, residents in said town for the space of one year next proceeding, having a freehold state within said town, of the annual income of three pounds, to meet at the meeting house in the first parish of said town on Monday, the fifth day of May next, at three o’clock in the afternoon for the purpose of choosing one or more representatives to represent them at the General Court, appointed to be convened and held at Boston on the last Wednesday of May.
Given under our hands and seals at Scarborough the seventh day of April AD 1817.
Selectmen of Scarborough
Benjamin Larrabee, Jr.