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Friday, July 01, 2005

Letting Strangers Milk the Pines

Seen in Records of the Town of Plymouth (1636-1783):

It was ordered by the towne that all graves especially for elder psons shalbee diged five foot deep and that all such as have any occation to Imploy any in diging of graves shall see that they are diged soe deep
Ordered by the Towne That whatsoever whale or pte of a whale or other great ffish that will make oyle shall by the Providence of God be Cast up or Come on shore within the bounds of this Township . . . two ptes of three therof to belonge and appertaine to the Towne . . . and the third pte to such of the Towne as shall find and Cutt them up and try the Oyle . . .
. . . liberty is Granted to Major John Bradford to milk the pine Trees upon the Towns Comons . . . & [he] hath liberty to Imploy straingers lately Com from the westward upon sd Comons . . . upon Condition the sd Bradford doth . . . Instruct Aney of said Inhabitants in what scill sd strainger[s] hath in Milking the pines soe far as they are Capable of Instructing any in that Art
At said Meeting the Town voted that every male head of a Family be obliged to procure Ten grown Rats heads or Ten Grown black birds heads and bring them to ye Town Treasurer. . .
Then voted & Directed the Selectmen at a proper time to Advertise in this town the law of the Province Respecting Preventing Carrying about the Image of the pope &c in night time. . .
A footnote to this last entry remarks that "The Province Charter provided 'that there shall be liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God to all Christians (except Papists).'"

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