Monday, August 23, 2010

The Bailiff of Delmar Maryland

Prior to having a policeman or police force, Delmar Maryland had a position known as Bailiff. In the Town Charter are a number of standard clauses about what the town can do. Usually protect and safeguard the citizens was one. Also however was maintain the streets. The Bailiff position started out as safeguarding the citizens but by the 1900's the duty of Public works or Street Commissioner was also added. In addition he collected Town taxes. This was before government and civilian positions became specialized and everyone was expected to do what ever was required to make the town work.

On June 12th 1912 Mr. William B. Elliott was appointed the town Bailiff. He replaced Mr. Daniel H. O'Neal as bailiff. Because the bailiff collected taxes he had to post a $100 bond.

"Now the conditions of the above bond are such that the said William B. Elliott shall faithfully perform the duties of Bailliff of the Town of Delmar, Maryland, and shall pay over all mony coming into his hands, and perform all acts and duties of said office, then this bond shall be void, other wise, to remain in full force and virtue of law.
Witness our hands and seals, this 28th day of June 1912."

Bailiff Elliott, who was about 62 years of age in 1912, was paid a percentage of the taxes he collected. This percentage appears to have been in the 15% to 20% range.

His job as law enforcer in Delmar was to keep the peace and enforce ordinances. I did not see a reference to the pay he received for this but other bailiffs in the area would receive a percentage of the fine imposed by the Justice of the Peace(about half of the fine) and a bounty of about 30 cents on each person picked up. From the Delmar Maryland Council minutes we see he was ordered on May 11, 1914 to break up ball playing on the streets of Delmar, Md. He was also in the same meeting told to notify Chas Sturgis to take out a town license or abide by the law. In February 2, 1914 the council ordered him to prevent skating on the street of Delmar, Maryland. Extra assistant bailiffs were hired for his absences and on February 2, 1914 Thomas C. Knotts was appointed to act as backup bailiff.

His pay was broken down into the type of job he was doing at the time, thusly his police duty was paid separate, his tax collecting was paid separate and his street commissioner job was paid separate.

In 1912 when he was appointed bailiff the council paid him 15 cents an hour plus 10 cents more if he used his horse, showing that the labor of a man was worth 50% more than the labor of a horse. This pay seems to have been related to the work on the streets he had to do. Part of his street work consisted of rounding up men to work on the streets. As readers of this blog know from a previous post in 1912 all men between 21 to 50 living in Delmar were required to work one day a year to maintain the streets. In addition I am of the impression he hauled the cinders and shells around the town patching pot holes in the street. In 1913 he was paid $451 dollars for street work.

William B. Elliott had the Elliott Brickworks located on the west side of Delmar. I hope to do more on the brickworks when I do a post on west Delmar and Frogtown

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