1797 Vermin Law

Primary Source Document, transcribed by Stewart Southard.

An act for the purpose of distroying Squirrels, Crows and Wolves

Sect. 1st Be it enacted by the General Afsembly of the state of Tennefsee, that from and after the pafsing of this act, it shall and may be lawful for each county court, in this state, at the time of laying the county tax, to lay a tax to be paid in squirrels, or crows scalps. on every person, subject to a poll tax, in their respective counties, not exceeding twenty five squirrels to each poll.

Sect. 2nd Be it enacted, that every person subject to pay a poll tax, shall deliver to the Justice of the peace, who is appointed to take in the lists of taxable property, in the district where he, or she may reside, a sufficient number of scalps to satisfy the number of polls he, she, or they may be liable to pay tax for, agreeable to the number of scalps, so laid by the court, on each poll; or one crow scalp, in lieu of two squirrels scalps; and it shall be the duty of the Justice who is appointed as aforesaid to burn the scalps so delivered; and enter the number in the tax list, in a column for that purpose.

Sect. 3rd Be it enacted that every person, who fails to deliver their number of scalps shall for every scalp so failing to deliver, pay one cent to be collected, accounted for, and applied, under the same rules, and restrictions, as other county taxes.

Sect. 4th Be it enacted, that the court of every county is hereby, authorized to lay, a rate on wolf scalps, not exceeding two dollars for each scalp, to be paid out of the county treasury, by, the trustee of the county.

Sect. 5th Be it enacted, that before any person shall be authorized to draw his pay, for the scalp of a wolf, he shall appear before some Justice of the peace of said county, wherein he killed the same, and make oath, or affirmation, that he did actually kill the wolf, in the county where said Justice resides, since the promulgation of this act, and on such qualification, it shall be the duty of said Justice, to burn the scalp, or scalps, and grant him a certificate, directed to the Trustee of the county, together with an order to pay the sum the court may appropriate for the killing of each wolf. – October 20th 1797 –

James Stuart
Speaker of the House of Representatives

James White
Speaker of the Senate