May 25, 2018
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Old town reports online; 1851 Bangor entry shows smallpox, cholera costs

By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist

How much time Levi B. Knight spent attending to smallpox patients, we don’t know. But the city of Bangor paid him $9.98 for the year March 1850-March 1851, according to the 1851 “Annual Report of the Receipts and Expenditures of the City of Bangor.”

John Mullen earned $74.78 for the same type of duties.
S.B. Morison received even more, $215.14. But then, he was remunerated for “medical attendance” in cases of smallpox.

Anyone so inclined can read all 24 pages of the 1851 “Annual Report of the Receipts and Expenditures of the City of Bangor” through the Town Report Digitization Project online at
The joint project of the University of Maine’s Fogler Library, Maine State Library, municipalities and historical societies will be the topic of a program sponsored by the Friends of Fogler Library.

“Town Reports: Rich Texts, Vital Resources” will be presented at 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15, in the Special Collections Reading Room on the third floor of Fogler Library on the UM campus in Orono.

Librarians Mel Johnson and Richard Hollinger will demonstrate that town reports are unique and valuable resources for local history and genealogy. They are essential sources for research on regional and state history, containing information about social history often available nowhere else.
Smallpox wasn’t the only ailment mentioned in Bangor’s report. Morison also received $17.50 for attending to “insane persons.”

That was separate from the $16 that Bangor paid Jona. Bachelder for “carrying Insane persons to Augusta,” presumably to the state hospital.
The city also paid B.F. Adams $129.50 “for coffins in time of cholera, 1849.”
Bangor printed 500 copies of its 1851 report, which stated that the city spent $11,853.88 for Public Schools, $7,230.24 for the Highway Department, $5,443.70 for the Fire Department and $5,942.32 for the Pauper Department.

Five pages were devoted to detailed expenditures from the Contingent Fund, including $144.96 for expenses “in celebration of funeral obsequies of President Zachary Taylor.”

Among other payments were:
Jos. Wing, for services as Undertaker in case of drowned persons, $22.13.
Jos. Shaw, for stage fare for Insane persons to Hospital, $57.
Geo. Snow, for making Index to City Records from 1834 to 1850, per order of City Council, $75.

John P. Davis, for driving swine to pound, $3.43.
Residents expected their sidewalks and streets to be in tip-top condition. After all, the city paid Jesse Gilman, for allowance for injury received by him in consequence of defect in sidewalk, $25.

H. Nickerson got $3 for damage to wagon on Levant Road, and W.M. Scribner received $1.70 for damage to buggy by defect in street. A larger payment, $21, went to Wm. H. Grover for damage to horse by defect in highway.

City salaries included $1,059.20 for the treasurer and collector, $500 for the judge of the police court, $450 for the city marshal, $300 for the mayor and $250 for the city clerk.

D. Worcester earned $900 for teaching High School for Boys for one year, while Deborah Hersey earned $169.12 for the year at the Girls’ Grammar School.

Area municipalities with reports online, and the years, are:
– Bangor: 1851, 1857-1859, 1860-1879, 1880-1891.
– Dover: 1898, 1909-1915.
– Dover-Foxcroft: 1922-1929.
– Ellsworth: 1878, 1899, 1911, 1933, 1942-1949.
– Foxcroft: 1904-1914.
– Guilford: 1897-1899, 1900-1919, 1920.
– Holden: 1868-1879, 1880-1899, 1900-1919, 1920-1939, 1940-1950.
– Old Town: 1870-1893.

For a complete listing of the Maine town reports now available online, read Family Ties in the Lifestyle section of the Monday, Nov. 8, issue of the Bangor Daily News.

Individuals, towns and organizations that would like to add their town’s reports to this site should contact Sharon Quinn Fitzgerald at Fogler Library, 581-1667, or e-mail

For more information, contact Gretchen Gfeller at or call 581-1696.

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