Wednesday, August 6, 2014

...and here you thought taxes were boring...


Ancestry has recently published or indexed a great new source, the New York State Tax Assessments from 1799 to 1804. Here are the records for Joshua Tanner and then also for his son John as he matures and starts to work part of the Tanner farm in Argyle, Washington, New York. In 1803 Argyle was split and the part the Tanners lived in became Greenwich. We will see that transition in the records.


1799 New York Tax Assessment, Joshua Tanner, Argyle, New York


Names of Possessors…Description of Real Estate…Value of Real Estate…Value Personal…Tax Dollar Cents

Joshua Tanner…Farm…$506.40…$171.00…$0.67

The absolute values are not so meaningful, but when you go through the list and compare the farm values to other properties in the town, you can tell that the Tanners were respectable, although not wealthy. You can also see that they were living surrounded by family members: cousins, uncles and aunts, and a variety of in-laws.

[August 22, 2014: When you compare these names to the 1800 census, you will see that some of these landowners were also slaveholders since slavery was legal at the time in New York. I have not compared the tax and census records to see if slaveholding is associated with extra wealth in this area. As far back as I can tell, the Tanners and their relatives were not slaveholders, but there's a statistical chance that some of the branches of the family in colonial times, living on the Atlantic coast as they did, may have been involved in the practice. For more information see the amazing website Slavery in the North.]

1800 New York Tax Assessment, Joshua Tanner and John Tanner, Argyle, New York


Names of Possessors...Real [Property (land)]...Personal [Property (cash or movable property)]...Tax

Tanner Joshua...988...124...$2.36
Tanner John..."...63...$0.12

1801 New York Tax Assessment, Joshua Tanner and John Tanner, Argyle, New York


Taner Joshua…  …250…506.60…130…$1.//
Taner John…Joshua Farm…  …300…68… $0.68

1802 New York Tax Assessment, Joshua Tanner and John Tanner, Argyle, New York


Possessors Names…Owners Names…Value of Real Estate…Value of Personal Property…Taxes to be paid thereon

Tanner John…Joshua Tanner…476…118…$0.65
Tanner Joshua… …988…242…$1.35

1803 New York Tax Assessment, Joshua Tanner and John Tanner, Greenwich, New York


Argyle has just been split and the Tanner farm is now in the new town of Greenwich.

Joshua Tanner… …1000…214…$2.06
John Tanner [possessor]…Joshua Tanner [owner of farm]…476 [real estate]…144 [person property]…$1.30 [tax owed]

1804 New York Tax Assessment

This only lists unpaid taxes and fortunately the Tanners are not on the list.



The old stone bridge in Argyle is used as is from Doug Kerr at Flickr under a Creative Commons license. The picture of the area farm and hill is used as is from Sébastien Barré under a Creative Commons license.

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