Displaying items by tag: dogs
Big Game Nostalgia for Big Shows
In anticipation for the big game coming up in just a few days, I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at similar events that have taken place in Montgomery County history. While I cannot find evidence of any actual games taking place in the county, I have found some articles on dog shows. So, in honor of the upcoming Puppy Bowl XIX, here is a look back at some past dog shows in and around Montgomery County. (Wait, is there another big game I should be aware of?)
First up we have the 12th annual Spillane's Dog Show that took place in 1958. There are smiling faces both human and canine. Multiple awards were given for the different groups, including "waggiest tail." Best-in-show that year went to Peter Childs' dog.
In 1952 the Devon Dog Show, held in Chester County, included a prize winning dog from Norristown. Danny Boy won four prizes and is seen here with J. R. Beideman of Norristown.
Do you have a prize winning dog in your family? Do you think they could take home the MVP for the Puppy Bowl? Leave us a comment or your pictures on our Facebook page so we can see some other Montgomery County canine representation and appreciation. Let's go Team Ruff and Team Fluff!
(Fine. And let's go Eagles, too).
Dogs and Taxes
Earlier this week I came across a small collection of papers concerning a local dog tax. The papers span several decades and list Norristown dog owners and their assessments.
Today in Montgomery County, dogs are licensed by the county for a nominal fee. In the 19th century, we found two reasons for the dog tax.
In a 1955 article “Tax Experiments Make a Bewildering Record,” Norris (aka Edward Hocker) writes about how a national economic crisis, generally called the Panic of 1837, led Pennsylvania and several other states to repudiate their debts and suspend interest payments. In an effort to shore up the state coffers, the legislature sought new taxes. According to Hocker, the state taxed gold watches, pleasure carriages, stocks, cattle, and eventually, dogs.
Now, Hocker may not have seen our tax records, which show dogs being taxed as early as 1834. It could also be the tax was actually started in response to an earlier recession. In any case the tax seems to have expired and restarted. Our collection has assessments for the years 1834 – 1836, 1838, 1852, 1854, 1862, and 1867.
Our records suggest a different reason for the tax on dogs, as shown by this 1829 petition of citizens from several townships, and is couched in patriotic language of developing the United States’ developing wool industry. The tax on dogs in this case, would create a fund to compensate the owners of sheep who were attacked by dogs.
Whatever the reason, the tax records show some interesting things. Most of the people assessed have dogs, that is, males. Only a few, ahem, female dogs are listed. One wonders how the species survived. The tax on dogs in this 1867 list was 75 cents, while females were taxed a full dollar, so that might explain the difference.
In this list, you can see the Bank of Montgomery County had two dogs, perhaps as guard dogs.
Here, you can see the name of General Winfield Scott Hancock’s father, B. F. Hancock, who owned one dog.