N the early days of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay
, stringent laws were made to protect the towns against undesirable inhabitants.
Any one who rented a house or entertained a stranger in his house was required to notify the selectmen of his tenant's name, last residence, and financial condition.
If the stranger remained in a town three months without being ‘warned out,’ he became an inhabitant.
Unless the new-comer was the holder of taxable property he was usually warned out of town.
The law was strictly enforced in regard to children, apprentices, journeymen, and spinsters.
It was no disgrace to be warned out, unless there was danger of one becoming a town charge.
In such cases, if the person did not leave town within fourteen days after the date of warning, the constable was instructed to escort him to the town line, where he was met by the constable of the next town.
He was in this way passed from town to town until he reached his last place of residence.
When it became a State, Massachusetts
was more strict; high and low, rich and poor, who were new residents, were warned out of town at the session of the court following their change of residence.
If all the men in the following list had been obliged to leave town as a result of being warned out, Medford
would have lost some of her most useful citizens: