Prohibitive Costs

[ Main Street, Chipman, c.1909 ]

Main Street, Chipman, c.1909, Unknown, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick P54 #100

During the mid-19th Century, local communities throughout the Maritimes were responsible for their poor. However, in the case of the transient poor, strangers without any ties to the area, the law did not hold communities responsible. Provincial governments set aside funds for the reimbursement of the expenses communities incurred in taking care of such strangers. Thus, as you saw in the previous subsection, when Gamby was found in the woods the Overseers of the Poor and those who took care of him filed invoices with the Parish of Chipman. The village then forwarded the bill to Queen’s County, which in turn passed it on to the New Brunswick government. In the fall of 1863, when the costs seemed excessive to all concerned, the taxpayers of Chipman decided they had to get rid of Gamby. Despite the ensuing scandal, no one was accused of any crime whatsoever. You will see that even those who were scandalized by this decision understood and forgave it.

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