Petition of Zechariah Mayhew to the Massachusetts General Court

To the Honorable Council, and to the Honorable the House of Representatives of the State of Massachusetts Bay


The petition of Zechariah Mayhew of Chilmark in the County of Dukes County humbly sheweth that your petitioner, having for many years been employed as a missionary to the Indians dispersed through the Island of Martha’s Vineyard,[1] he has, as a minister of the Gospel, been exempted from taxes till the year 1777, when the assessors of Chilmark taxed a farm which he has under his own care and cultivation and, without the benefit of which, his salary would by no means support his family.  That he thereupon applied to the General Court of this State for relief, which, they in their wisdom and goodness saw fit to grant by a resolve ordering the said assessors to discharge him of said tax.  That notwithstanding said resolve, the assessors of said town have taxed his estate in the assessment of the year 1778.  He, therefore, prays that this Honorable Court would be pleased to take his case into consideration, and, if they see fit, order him to be discharged of the tax already assessed on him, and also secure him against any future demands of this sort, as long as he shall continue in his present office.


And your petitioner as in duty bound shall ever pray,


Zechariah Mayhew

Boston, June 2, 1779



Please to turn over / Your petitioner does not desire that such land as he may hire should be exempted from taxation.  He hires a farm belonging to the Society in Great Britain,[2] whose [3] missionary he is, for which he willingly pays rates.


Reverend Zechariah Mayhew / Mr. Cranch / Mr. Phelps / [4]Captain Batchelder / June 8, 1779




[1] Mayhew was ordained a minister on Martha's Vineyard on December 10, 1767.  He had several Indian communities under his care: Gay Head, Chappaquiddick, Christiantown, and Deep Bottom. Jerome V. C. Smith, ed., Bowen's Boston News-Letter, and City Record, Vol. 2 (Boston, MA: Abel Bowen, 1826),  84.

[2] The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England, also known as the New England Company.

[3] Deleted Text: employ

[4] Deleted Text: Major B