1858 Salem

The Regulations, by-Laws & Ordinances of the Town of Salem

Adopted February 2, 1858

The Regulations shall be:

  1. Those setting forth the duties of the Mayor and Commissioners, and such as may be required for the government of their body. These are styled By-Laws.
  2. Those to be observed by the Police officers appointed by the Commissioners (say Constable, Night Watchmen, and Patrols) and by the inhabitants of the town.

These will be styled Ordinances.


  • Number 1. The duties of the Mayor will be to have the general supervision of all the municipal affairs of the town. The public morals, the town revenue and its disbursements, the streets, and them being kept in repair, the efficiency of the Constable, Night Watchmen, and Patrols, and the strict observance of all the By-Laws and Ordinances, are made his immediate care. To him are all the officers of the town, and all the agents and employees accountable.
    • He shall at least every six months, report in writing to the Commissioners the condition of the Town Treasury, setting forth how much has been received, and from what sources, and how much has been paid out and for what purposes.
    • He shall also further report in writing what may be of general interest and suggest what action he thinks the Commissioners should take for the well governing of the community.
  • Number 2. It shall require four Commissioners to form a quorum to do business.
  • Number 3. The rules generally observed in governing public bodies, shall be observed in the deliberations of the Board of Commissioners.
  • Number 4. The Commissioners shall annually elect by a majority of members a Town Treasurer, who shall give a bond in the sum of Two Thousand Dollars with good securities for the faithful discharge of his duties. The Treasurer shall receive from the Town Constable all the taxes, fines, etc, he should collect, insisting on settlement at least every three months; and he shall report every six months (and oftener if required) in detail to the Mayor the condition of the Town Finances.
    • The Treasurer shall likewise act as Secretary of the Board of Commissioners; and for the discharge of the duties of both offices combined he shall receive the sum of Twenty Dollars per annum.
  • Number 5. No money shall be paid out unless on a warrant that shall have been passed on by the Board of Commissioners, signed by the Mayor or President of that body and countersigned by the Secretary.
  • Number 6. the Constable shall be elected annually and give bond with good sureties in the sum of Two Thousand Dollars for the faithful discharge of his duties. At least every three months (and oftener if called on) he shall settle with the Treasurer, and by the first of October of every year he shall pay up all the taxes he has or should have collected in the town of Salem.
    • The Constable's compensation shall be four % on taxes collected, and what costs may be due him on business done.


Ordinances Concerning Fire

  • Number 1. No person shall keep any hay, straw, or fodder in any building where any fire is kept either constantly or occasionally; or in any place peculiarly exposed to the danger of fire.
    • Penalty…Five dollars for each offense.
  • Number 2. No person shall carry or suffer to be carried any candle, lamp, or other light--except in a safe lantern--or a lighted cigar or smoke pipes, into any stable, barn or other house where there may be hay, straw, or fodder.
    • Penalty…Ten dollars for the first and four dollars for every subsequent offense.
  • Number 3. No person shall keep in his store or house within two squares of Main Street, more than two kegs of powder. Any powder so kept must be carefully secured in tin canisters.
    • Penalty…Twenty dollars for each offense.
  • Number 4. No person shall use any wooden chimney or any fireplace, without good, sufficient and safe jams and hearth.
    • Penalty…Five dollars for each offense.
  • Number 5. Any person whose chimney or stovepipe shall take fire or burn, except in wet weather shall be subject to the penalty of four dollars.
  • Number 6 No person shall exhibit, set fire to or explode any fireworks or raise any balloon within the limits of the town unless by the written permit of the Mayor; and shall any person use or carry fire in any of the streets or thickly settled parts of the town, in a careless or nonlegal manor.
    • Penalty… Ten dollars for each offense if committed by a free person; and not less than ten or not more than twenty lashes if committed by a slave.
  • Number 7. No person shall fire a gun or pistol, or make any explosion with gun powder for purposes of sport or amusement, within the incorporation unless by the written consent of the Mayor.
    • Penalty…One dollar for each offense.
  • Number 8. No person shall keep unleashed ashes in any vessel made of wood or other combustible material; nor run a stove pipe or chimney through the wall, ceiling or roof of his building in such a manner that the catching fire of such pipe or chimney might endanger his, or his neighbor's property.
  • Number 9 The Mayor, or any two Commissioners shall have the right to enter on any persons premises to examine whether in the construction of new buildings or the altering or keeping in repair of old buildings due regard is had to the security against fire. And if they discover any construction, alterations or wants of repair that is such in accordance with these ordinances in that in their opinion might endanger the property of the owner or his neighbor, such discovery shall be reported to the Board. Any order that they may make shall be binding on the person's building, altering, or neglecting to repair. So also if the Boards consider that in buildings already erected, alterations should be made on new buildings or parts of buildings be removed to render that property more secure against the danger of fire, the owner should be bound to obey their orders.
    • Penalty… Any person refusing or neglecting to comply with any order so made, shall be fined from day to day at the discretion of the Mayor until he comply.

Ordinance Concerning Morals

  • Number 10. No person shall play any game of skill or hazard for money or property within the corporate limits.
    • Penalty…Ten dollars if committed by a free person, and twenty lashes if committed by a slave.
  • Number 11. It shall be the duty of the police officers constable, night watch and patrol or either of them to arrest all persons, white or colored who shall be found intoxicated in any of the streets of this town or who shall disturb the peace and quite of the citizens by loud noises, cursing or swearing or otherwise, and bring them before the Mayor whose duty it shall be to commit the offender if intoxicated to the Watch House until he becomes sober and to sentence each white person arrested as above to a fine of not less than one nor more than five dollars, to each free negro or slave to not less than ten nor more than thirty-nine lashes. And in case the fine and cost be not paid, the Mayor shall have power to commit the offender to the Watch House at discretion, not exceeding ten days. Should at anytime any person intoxicated or disturbing the peace and quiet of the citizens as above set forth from any cause not be first handed taken before the constable or other officers, the Mayor or shall have proven at anytime to bring the offender before him in a warrant and deal with him as though taken in the act according with the provisions of this ordinance.

Ordinances Concerning the Streets

  • Number 12. No person shall run, ride, or drive a horse or horses at a speed greater than seven miles per hour, through any of the streets of this town, under a penalty of Five Dollars. Nor shall any person ride or drive upon any of the sidewalks nor hitch his horse to any fence, tree, or post so as to block the sidewalk.
    • Penalty… One dollar for each offense if committed by a free person and not more than ten lashes if committed by a slave.
  • Number 13. No person shall exhibit a stud horse or jackass in any of the streets of this town.
    • Penalty… Five dollars for any offense and if not paid on demand, the horse to be seized and the money paid.
  • Number 14. No person shall sell, barter, or give away on any of the streets of this town any wine or spirituous liquors of any kind by any quantity less than a gallon.
    • Penalty…Ten dollars for every offense.
  • Number 15. No person shall deposit the carcass of any dead animal of any street or on any lot nor any person suffer such carcass to remain upon their premises within the limits of the town.
    • Penalty…Five dollars for a free person and thirty lashes for a slave.
  • Number 16. No person shall obstruct any street, street gutter or sidewalk by placing in or on them anything except the necessary step, portico, or piazza to enter his home.
    • Penalty… One Dollar for every day obstruction remains after notice to remove.
  • Number 17. It shall be the duty of any owner or lessee of a house or building lot in the Town of Salem to have before his or her lot a good sidewalk of such width, grade and material as the Board of Commissioners may from time to time direct.
    • Penalty… One Dollar for every day after due notice.
  • Number 18. No building shall hereafter be affected, that shall require for its entrance any step portico or piazza that may obstruct the sidewalks.
    • Penalty…Any person so building an obstruction shall be fined from day to day at the discretion of the Mayor until the obstruction be removed.
  • Number 19. No person shall feed any stock on the sidewalk.
    • Penalty…Ten Dollars for every offense.
  • Number 20. No person shall leave his wagon, carriage or other vehicle standing on the streets or sidewalk over night, nor shall any person fly or attempt to fly any kite in the Main Street of this town.
    • Penalty…Two Dollars for every offense.
  • Number 21. No person shall maliciously or mischievously pull down, cut or otherwise injure any of the trees or public square.
    • Penalty…Five Dollars for every offense and if committed by a slave and the fine not to be paid by his master twenty lashes.
  • Number 22. No person shall break or in any way injure any of the public lamps, lamp posts, pumps, wells, ladders, fences about the public squares, fire apparatus, horse troughs, racks, or other fixtures put up for the public ornament or convenience.
    • Penalty…Ten Dollars for every offense, over and above the amount required to pay the damage if committed by a free person and twenty lashes if committed by a slave.
  • Number 23. No person shall after the first of April next permit any slut, goat, or breeding sow to run at large in the streets of this town; and if any slut, goat or sow so running at large shall be taken up by the Town Constable, advertised and if not redeemed by the owner in ten days by paying him five dollars as fine, and twenty cents per day for feeding, shall be sold. One half the fine to be returned for the use of the town and one half to be retained by the officer.
  • Number 24. No hogs other than breeding sows after 1st of June next shall be permitted to run at large in the streets of this town, unless they wear a badge as a permit, attached to the leather collar around the necks. Such badge can be obtained from the Town Constable, and will protect one hog for the current year. Any hog not wearing such badge shall be taken up by the Town Constable, advertised, and if not redeemed in ten days by the owner, paying him Ten Dollars as a fine and Twenty Cents per day for feeding, shall be sold. One half to be retained for use of the town, and one half to be retained by the officer.
  • Number 25. No cow or other livestock may cause trouble on account of vicious and mischievous habits shall be permitted to run at large in the streets and any cow or other stock pronounced by the Boards to possess such habits shall be confined by the owner upon due notice given. When again found a large, such cow or other stock is to be taken up by the Town Constable, and advertised and if not redeemed in ten days, by the owner paying five dollars as a fine and twenty cents per day for feeding shall be sold; the half to be returned for the use of the town, and one half to be retained by the officer. No hog posses of such habits shall be protected even by a badge.
  • Number 26. No slave shall appear in the streets or public square of this town between the hours of 9:15 p.m. and 4 a.m. either with or without a written permit or pass unless such slave be especially sent in case of sickness or other emergency. Penalty-Fifteen lashes; and in case of insolence to the Police Officer, not more than thirty lashes.
  • Number 27. When a slave shall be take up and whipped according to the forgoing ordinance, the owner and employer of the said slave shall pay to the police officer the sum of fifty cents, as a fine for permitting his slave to be out at unreasonable hours, which sum the police officer shall be obtained for his own use. In case of refusal of such owner or employer to pay such fine, it shall be collected from him by warrants and execution, as in other penalties.

General Ordinances

  • Number 28. Every person of color shall be treated as a slave by the Constable, Patrols and Night Watchmen, until such person addresses satisfactory evident of his being free.
  • Number 29. No free person either white or colored, shall in the nighttime in or the Sabbath day, be in company of or associate with any slave or slaves in any kitchen or outhouse other than his own.
    • Penalty…The Constable, Patrol or Night Watchmen shall taken any offenders against this on demand before the Mayor, who upon conviction shall infuse a fine of not less than two and more than ten dollars. Upon failure to pay such fine and costs, the offender, if a while shall be imprisoned at the discretion of the Mayor; if colored shall receive not less than twenty nor more than thirty nine lashes.
  • Number 30. It shall be the duty of the Night Watchmen to make their headquarters in the Watch House, and at least once ever hour between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. patrol every portion of the beat assigned them by the Commissioners; to sound the hour, strike the bell, attend to the watch clocks and do such other service as police officers as the Board may form time to time direct. They shall have an eye especially to the danger from fire; and if they discern anything to arouse their apprehensions, they shall forthwith give the alarm to the residents of the endangered building; and if their apprehensions prove well founded, give the general alarm. They shall have all the powers and duties of patrols, and shall see that the Ordinances for the Town of Salem shall be strictly observed, and shall report any violations of same to the Mayor. The duties of the Patrols are not curtailed by the appointment of the night watch.
  • Number 31 Any fines or penalties for violating any of the Ordinances of the Town of Salem, incurred by a minor shall, together with the costs, be received from the parent, guardian or master of such minor.
  • Number 32 Any penalties imposed by the Ordinances of the Town of Salem if not fully paid, shall be sued for in the name of the Commissioners of the Town of Salem and when collected, one half shall be paid to the Town Treasurer and one half shall be retained by the collecting officer, in addition to the regular. The costs allowed to the Town Constable shall be the same as those received by regular constable for similar services.

These ordinances to go into effect from and after the 16th of March, 1857.

Charles Brietz, Mayor

C. L. Rights, Secretary (Volume 1- 48-58)