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Ludlow, Vt., plans 250th birthday bash

LUDLOW - As the Town of Ludlow nears the 250th anniversary of its founding, Ludlow Town Manager Frank Heald has set Monday, May 23, at 3 p.m. for an organizational meeting of all interested people to consider what actions and events would be appropriate to celebrate this monumental date.

Local historian Ralph Pace will coordinate the initial meeting. Pace suggested that "anyone interested in helping the town celebrate this anniversary was welcomed to participate in the meeting".

He also noted some of the features in the charter that created Ludlow were "rather interesting".

Ludlow's original charter was issued on Sept. 16, 1761 by Benning Wentworth, the Royal Governor of New Hampshire. In addition to defining its general location, the charter had some interesting requirements and benefits.

The first item mentioned in the charter permits the town-after 50 families were resident, to hold two annual fairs. When the same fifty families were resident, they could open a market. (No mention is made of how they secured food and clothing before there were 50 families.)

The charter spelled out the local governance for the town, citing a Capt. Elakim Hall as the first town moderator. Following the first town meeting in October, all subsequent meetings were to take place on the second Tuesday of March.

As for land use, the charter required that five acres of land be cultivated for every 50 acres owned. It also allocated certain acreage in the center of the town as a town lot.

It clearly specified that all white and other pine trees fit for use as masts in the Royal Navy could not be cut without the governor's license.

As for taxation, the first ten years of settlement were relatively simple: one ear of Indian corn. However, after that period had past, the tax was one shilling for every 100 acres owned.

How many of these requirements were ever satisfactorily delivered to Gov. Wentworth's desk is questionable, given the start of the Revolutionary War and the battles between New Hampshire and New York over control of the renegade Vermont Republic.

For information about the meeting, call 802-228-7239 or 802-228-2841.

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