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[p. 44]

A Town Meeting, 1847.

Charles Cummings.

WE look first at the building in which the town business was transacted. Erected in 1833, it was partially destroyed by fire in 1839. When repaired and lengthened thirteen feet, it remained without change of condition till it was again partially consumed in 1850. The lower story was occupied by two dry goods stores and the hook and ladder carriage. The hall was furnished with long unpainted seats, with backs, built on an incline from the floor area to the sides of the room. After the second fire, the floor was made level and furnished with settees.

The town meeting of March 8, 1847, was presumably very much like its predecessors, and a fair type of a few subsequent ones, except for the variations demanded by changed circumstances. There were no printed ballots, and very many of those present did not avail themselves of the privilege of voting except when a hand or rising vote was ordered.

The town officials were elected one individual or board at a time, and when one vote was counted and declared, another was called for. First, the Moderator, as a matter of necessity, was chosen; then the Town Clerk; next the Selectmen, and, by vote, the polls were kept open for twenty minutes. Then the Assessors, School Committee, etc., were elected. All were chosen by a majority vote, as the law required, hence several ballotings were necessary when the candidates failed to reach it. The first balloting for School Committee secured five of the seven. The second secured one more. On the third there was no choice. On the fourth the seventh man was elected. The sixth man then declined to serve and the balloting was renewed. The fifth, sixth and seventh resulted in no choice. The eighth was successful. For three Fish Wardens four ballotings were required. Some men did not seem anxious for office and declined to serve when chosen. It took three

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