Massachusetts and Maine Direct Tax, 1798

The Massachusetts Tax Valuation List of 1771

In July, 1771, the Massachusetts General Court passed “An Act for Enquiring into the Rateable Estates of this Province.” Each town then elected assessors who prepared a list of all taxpayers and taxable property within that town. The residents themselves each submitted a list of their property as of September first. The information was needed roughly once every seven years for reapportioning the tax burden among the localities.

Only “improved” land was reported – meaning that any possible acres of native forest were not included in each property report. Property owners had small gardens, which were not reported. In gardens, home residents would grow relatively small amounts of vegetables such as potatoes, squash, pumpkins, peas, beans, turnips and maybe others.

In the listings, “grain” meant wheat grown to make bread, plus corn and rye. Some grain became animal feed, and some grain was kept to produce seeds for the next year’s planting. Grain and other products could be sold for money, and were often traded for other items with nearby residents.

Only adult animals were reported, so each farm had significantly more total numbers of animals than reported. Uncounted animals were oxen under four years, cows and horses under three years, plus goats, sheep, and pigs under one year of age.

About this Collection

This collection contains the names and descriptions of taxable property of nearly 38,000 individuals who resided in 152 Massachusetts towns in 1771. Data items include type and value (in pounds, shillings, and pence) of real estate, buildings, and other assets, as well as tabulation of livestock and farm commodities produced. Specific variables pertaining to value of real estate, buildings, and other assets include annual worth of whole real estate, tons of vessels, value of trading stock, value of factorage or commissions, value of money lent at interest, and types of buildings (e.g., tanhouses, stillhouses, warehouses, gristmills, superficial feet of wharf, ironworks). With respect to tabulation of livestock, variables provide information on number of horses, oxen, cows, goats, sheep, and swine. Data describing farm commodities cover acres of pasture, number of cows the pasture will keep, acres of tillage, bushels of grain produced per year, barrels of cider produced per year, acres of salt marsh, tons of salt marsh hay per year, acres of English and upland mowing land, tons of English and upland hay per year, acres of fresh meadow, and tons of fresh meadow hay per year. Other variables specify taxpayer name, title (e.g., widow, doctor, blacksmith), and status of taxpayer (e.g., decedent, landlord, free Negro).

  • 1771 Massachusetts Tax Inventory
    This on-line version allows you to browse the data by selecting items to view and “drilling down” through totals for counties and towns to the holdings of individual taxpayers. When viewing the individual’s record, make sure you also view the probate record if linked!



These data were obtained from original tax lists maintained by the state of Massachusetts as Massachusetts Archives, Volumes 132-134. The data in this collection were prepared by Bettye Pruitt, Philips Exeter Academy. The tax list has been published in its entirety (along with extensive discussions of Massachusetts tax laws and practices) as Bettye Pruitt (ed.), The Massachusetts Tax valuation List of 1771 (Boston: G.K. Hall and Co., 1978). The data for this Internet-based access tool are obtained from the University Consortium for Political and Social Research, (ICPSR Study Number 7734) Anne Arbor, Michigan. The data are distributed by ICPSR in the form received from the original investigator. The data have been converted to a format appropriate for this Internet-based tool using the documentation distributed by the ICPSR, as donated by the original investigator. Programming developed by the Instructional Computing Group of Harvard University.

Tax Records,

Acton Massachusetts, Amherst Massachusetts, Ashburnham Massachusetts, Ashby Massachusetts, Ashfield Massachusetts, Athol Massachusetts, Attleborough Massachusetts, Barnstable County MA, Bedford Massachusetts, Berkeley Massachusetts, Berkshire County MA, Berwick Maine, Billerica Massachusetts, Blandford Massachusetts, Boothbay Maine, Boston Massachusetts, Bridgewater Massachusetts, Brimfield Massachusetts, Bristol County MA, Brookline Massachusetts, Brunswick Maine, Cambridge Massachusetts, Cape Elizabeth Maine, Charlestown Massachusetts, Charlmont Massachusetts, Chathem Massachusetts, Chelmsford Massachusetts, Chesterfield Massachusetts, Chilmark Massachusetts, Concord Massachusetts, Conway Massachusetts, Cumberland County ME, Danvers Massachusetts, Dartmouth Massachusetts, Dedham Massachusetts, Deerfield Massachusetts, Dighton Massachusetts, Dracut Massachusetts, Dukes County MA, Dunstable Massachusetts, Easton Massachusetts, Egremont Massachusetts, Essex County MA, Fitchburg Massachusetts, Framingham Massachusetts, Franklin County MA, Freetown Massachusetts, Georgetown Maine, Gloucester Massachusetts, Gorham Maine, Granby Massachusetts, Greenfield Massachusetts, Groton Massachusetts, Hadley Massachusetts, Hampden County MA, Hampshire County MA, Hardwick Massachusetts, Harvard Massachusetts, Harwich Massachusetts, Holliston Massachusetts, Hopkinton Massachusetts, Hull Massachusetts, Ipswich Massachusetts, Kingston Massachusetts, Kittery Maine, Lancaster Massachusetts, Lexington Massachusetts, Lincoln County ME, Lincoln Massachusetts, Littleton Massachusetts, Lynn Massachusetts, Malden Massachusetts, Manchester Massachusetts, Marblehead Massachusetts, Marlborough Massachusetts, Marshfield Massachusetts, Medford Massachusetts, Mendon Massachusetts, Methuen Massachusetts, Middlesex County MA, Middleton Massachusetts, Milton Massachusetts, Monson Massachusetts, Montague Massachusetts, Murrayfield Massachusetts, New Braintree Massachusetts, New Marlborough Massachusetts, New Salem Massachusetts, Newburyport Massachusetts, Norfolk County MA, North Yarmouth Maine, Northampton Massachusetts, Northfield Massachusetts, Norton Massachusetts, Oakham Massachusetts, Oxford Massachusetts, Palmer Massachusetts, Pelham Massachusetts, Pepperell Massachusetts, Petersham Massachusetts, Plymouth County MA, Plymouth Massachusetts, Plympton Massachusetts, Pownalborough Maine, Princeton Massachusetts, Raynham Massachusetts, Reading Massachusetts, Rehobeth Massachusetts, Rowley Massachusetts, Roxbury Massachusetts, Rutland Massachusetts, Salem Massachusetts, Salisbury Massachusetts, Sandisfield Massachusetts, Sandwich Massachusetts, Sanford Maine, Scarborough Maine, Sheffield Massachusetts, Shelburne Massachusetts, Sherburn Massachusetts, Shirley Massachusetts, Shutesbury Massachusetts, South Hadley Massachusetts, Southampton Massachusetts, Southborough Massachusetts, Springfield Massachusetts, Stockbridge Massachusetts, Stoughton Massachusetts, Stow Massachusetts, Sudbury Massachusetts, Suffolk County MA, Sunderland Massachusetts, Swanzey Massachusetts, Taunton Massachusetts, Templeton Massachusetts, Tewksbury Massachusetts, Tisbury Massachusetts, Topsham Maine, Townsend Massachusetts, Truro Massachusetts, Tyringham Massachusetts, Waltham Massachusetts, Ware Massachusetts, Wellfleet Massachusetts, Wenham Massachusetts, Westborough Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts, Westfield Massachusetts, Westford Massachusetts, Westminster Massachusetts, Weston Massachusetts, Weymouth Massachusetts, Whately Massachusetts, Wilbraham Massachusetts, Williamsburg Massachusetts, Wilmington Massachusetts, Winchendon Massachusetts, Woburn Massachusetts, Worcester County MA, Worcester Massachusetts, Wrentham Massachusetts, York County ME, York Maine,

AccessGenealogy. Massachusetts Tax Records. 2018

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