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county court, in the same manner, and under the same regulations, as is herein provided, for persons aggrieved by the doings of select-men in laying out highways. And the several county courts may discontinue any highway, which may have been laid out otherwise than by the select-men, as aforesaid, and which may have become unnecessary for public use. o sect. 17. It shall be the duty of the several towns in the state, at their annual or other lawful meeting, to lay a tax on the assessment list, made and perfected, or to be made and perfected, on the polls and rateable estate liable to be set in the list on the first day of October, in the year . the year in which such tax is to be collected and expended, sufficient to make and keep in repair all necessary highways therein. And they shall have power to divide the towns into highway districts of convenient extent; to appoint surveyors of highways, and collectors of taxes; to lay out the money, and repair the highways, in such manner as they may judge proper; to make all necessary regulations for that purpose; to inflict fines, not exceeding seven dollars, on persons appointed to be surveyors or collectors, who shall refuse to serve, or having accepted, shall neglect to perform their duty; to prescribe the mode of recovering such fines; to direct the time and manner, in which collectors of highway taxes shall render their accounts, and to proceed against them for any default, as in the case of negligent collectors of town taxes : Provided, that where any town has heretofore been authorized, by special act of the general assembly, to repair the highways in such town, in a manner different from the provisions in this section, such town may continue to make and repair their highways agreeably to such special act.(1) sect. 18. Whenever there may be occasion to clear any water-course, or place or places, where the water may drain off from any road or highway, the surveyors of highways, or other persons authorized to repair such road or highway, may clear such water-courses and places, where water may drain off from highways, into or through any person's land, so far as may be necessary, sufficiently to drain off the water as aforesaid.

by may appeal
to the county
Power of coun-
ty court to .

Duty of towns
to lay tax suf-
ficient to make
and repair

Powers of towns in relation to highways.

Surveyors, &c. may open water-courses, &c.

(1) In the revision of 1672, the mode of repairing highways was prescribed to be, by directing the towns to appoint surveyors, who were empowered to call out men and teams, two days at least, in each year, to work on the highways. This mode was continued, with various modifications, till

1795, when liberty was granted to each town to lay taxes for this purpose. The mode of repairing highways, oy taxation,

was generally adopted; and be, g the most equitable, it is now established by law.

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sect. 19. When any town shall neglect to keep in good and sufficient repair, any public . within such town, which it is the duty of such town to maintain and repair, it shall be the duty of the county court, upon complaint made, to order necessary repairs, and grant a warrant against the select-men of such town, to collect the sums expended in such repairs; and it shall be the duty of the state's attornies, and the sheriffs of the respective counties, to make complaint of any neglect as aforesaid, which may come to their knowledge.

TITLE 49. Idiots.

An Act providing for the care and government of Idiots, Lunatics, and Spendthrifts.

- H% it enacted by the Senate and House of Rep-
SECT. l. - -
resentatives, in General Assembly convened,
That whenever any idiot, lunatic, or distracted person,
has any estate, the county court, in the county where
such person resides, shall, on the application of the se-
lect-men, of the town where he or she belongs, or any
relation, make due enquiry, and if they find such person
to be incapable of taking care of him or her self, they
shall appoint some proper person to be the conservator
of such idiot, lunatic, or distracted person, who shall
give bond, with sufficient surety, to the treasurer of the
county, for a faithful discharge of his trust, and shall have
the care and charge of his or her person, and of his or her
estate, both real and personal; and such conservator
shall, forthwith, make a true and perfect inventory of
said estate, and return the same into the office of the
clerk of such county court, where it shall be kept on file;
and shall render his account to said court of the manage-
ment of such trust, when thereto required, and shall be
allowed a reasonable compensation for his services. And
said court shall have power to remove such conservator,
for neglect of duty and mismanagement in such trust, and
to appoint another in his place.
sect. 2. It shall be the duty of the conservator to take
care of and manage the estate of such idiot, lunatic, or
distracted person, in a husbandlike manner, without com-
mitting waste, and to apply the annual income and prof-
its thereof to support him or her, and his or her family.
He shall have power to collect all debts due to such per-
son, and to institute suits for that purpose; and to adjust
and settle all accounts and debts due from him or her.
He may sell or dispose of the personal estate of such
person to pay his or her debts, and support him or her,
and his or her family; and in case the annual income of
his or her estate shall be insufficient to support him or
her, and his or her family, and to pay his or her debts,
then on application of the conservator, to the county
court, they may liquidate the debts due from him or
her, and the expenses of his or her support; and if they
find the personal estate to be insufficient to discharge the
same, or if, in their opinion, it will be for the interest of
such person that part of such personal estate should be
retained for his or her use, such county court shall have
power to order a sale of so much of the real estate as
shall be necessary to pay the same, with incident charg-
es of sale; and if such person should be restored to his
or her reason, then what remains of his or her estate,
shall be returned to him or her, or in case of his or her
death, to his or her heirs, executors, or administrators,
after a reasonable allowance to the conservator for his
services, to be ascertained by such county court.
sect. 3. If any lunatic or distracted person shall go at
. who is dangerous and unfit to be without restraint,
and may injure others, in their persons or estate, it shall
be the duty of the civil authority and select-men of the
town where such lunatic or distracted person belongs or
resides, to order and direct that he be confined in some
suitable place ; and in case the person or persons, under
whose care such lunatic or distracted person shall be, or
who are bound to provide for, and support him or her,
shall refuse or neglect to confine him or her, in such
place and manner as by said civil authority and select-
men shall be directed, then the said civil authori-
ty and select-men shall take proper and effectual means
to prevent him or her from going at large, and for his or
her confinement and support in some suitable place.
sect. 4. Whenever any person, tried for murder or
manslaughter, shall be acquitted, on the sole ground of in-
sanity, the court, before whom the trial is had, may, if
they deem it proper, commit such person to the gaol in
the county where such trial is had, there to be closely
confined during such insanity, unless some person or per-
sons shall undertake and give bond to the treasurer of the
state, before such court, to their satisfaction, to confine
such insane person, in such manner as said court shall or-
der and direct.
sect. 5. And any person, confined as aforesaid, or his
or her relations, shall have right to apply, by petition, to
the county court, in the county where such person is
confined, for his or her enlargement ; which petition
shall be served on the select-men of the town where
such person belongs, in the manner prescribed by law ;

Sale of real estate.

Confinement of lunatic, or distracted person.

Confinement of
persons tried
for murder,
or manslaugh-
ter, and ac-
quitted on the
ground of in-

Enlargement and disposal of such persons.

Expense by whom to be


Duty of selectmen to inspect management, &c. of their inhabitants.

Duty of overseer, in first stage.

and said court shall order and decree with respect to
the future disposal of the person so confined, as to them
shall appear proper and reasonable. And all expens-
es incurred under the three preceding sections, shall
be paid out of the estate of such lunatic or distracted
person, if any he or she has ; if not, by his or her re-
lations, if he or she has any, of sufficient ability, liable,
by law, to support him or her; if none, then by the town
to which he or she belongs.
sect. 6. The select-men shall, from time to time,
carefully inspect the management and conduct of all per-
sons residing in their respective towns; and if they find
any person, by idleness, gaming, intemperance, debauch-
ery, mismanagement, or bad husbandry, likely to spend
and waste his or her estate, to be reduced to want,
and to become chargeable to the town, they, or a major-
ity of them, shall appoint some proper person to be his
or her overseer; to advise, direct and order him or her,
in the management of his or her business; which ap-
pointment shall be under the hands of the select-men,
specifying the cause, and the time for which the appoint-
ment is made, not exceeding three years, and shall be set
up on the sign-post in said town, and a copy thereof shall
be lodged with the town-clerk of the town; and such se-
lect-men shall have power to remove such overseer, for
neglect of duty, or mismanagement in his trust, and to ap-
point another in his place : and no person, under the
appointment of an overseer, shall be capable of making a
contract without his consent. -
sect. 7. It shall be the duty of the overseer to super-
intend the management of the estate and concerns of
such person, and to restrain him or her from improvi-
dent contracts, and from wasting his or her estate, and to
assent to all contracts and dispositions of his or her pro-
perty, necessary for a proper management of his or her
concerns, and the support of such person, or his or her
family. And if such person shall reform, the select-men

Revocation of may revoke the appointment of the overseer; but if such


Proceedings preparatory to second stage.

measures do not produce a reformation, and he or she re

. fuses to submit to the authority of the overseer, then the

select-men may apply to two or more justices of the peace in the same town, who may issue a warrant, and cause such person to be brought before them, or may notify him or her to appear at some proper time and place, or if he or she absconds, a notice left at his or her usual place of abode shall be sufficient: And such justices of the peace shall make due enquiry, and if they find, that such person, by his or her misconduct, as aforesaid, is wasting his or her estate, and is likely to be reduced to

want, and that he or she refuses to submit to the authori-
ty of his or her overseer, then they may direct and au-
thorize the overseer, or any other person they may think
proper to appoint, to take his or her family and estate
under his care.
sect. 8. It shall be the duty of such overseer to make
out a true and perfect inventory of all the estate of such
person, both real and personal, and deposit a copy there-
of in the office of the town-clerk. And such overseer
shall have power to use and manage the estate, in such
manner as he judges will be for the best interest of such
person; to collect and pay his or her debts; and to insti-
tute suits for that purpose ; to apply the income and a-
vails of his or her estate to support him or her, and his
or her family; and when necessary, to sell and dispose
of his or her personal estate. And if the rents and a-
vails of his or her estate shall be insufficient, to pay his
or her debts, and support his or her family, then the
overseer may apply to the county court, who, in such
case, may order a sale of his or her real estate for that
purpose. And all overseers appointed by two justices of
the peace, shall renderan account, annually, to the select-
men of the town, and oftener, if required, of the manage-
ment of such estate, and the disposition thereof; and may
be removed by the select-men, with the advice and con-
sent of two justices of the peace in the town, for miscon-
duct in their office, and others may, in like manner, be
appointed in their place ; and in case of the death or re-
signation of an overseer, the select-men, with the advice
and consent of two justices of the peace in the town,
may appoint another in his place. And whenever a va-
cancy shall occur in the office of an overseer, by death or
otherwise, the disability of the person over whom such
overseer may have been appointed to convey his or her
estate, or to make contracts, shall continue for the term
of nine days thereafter, that the select-men of such town
may have an opportunity to supply such vacancy, by an-
other appointment.
sect. 9. Whenever such person shall reform, said
justices of the peace shall have power to stop all proceed-
dings against him or her; to revoke the appointment of
the overseer; and to order his or her estate to be re-
turned to him or her. And if any person shall be ag-
grieved, he or she may appeal from the doings of the se-
lect-men, or the justices of the peace, to the county court
in the county where the parties live, who may grant the
proper relief.
sect. 10. When it shall so happen, that any man shall
die without issue, leaving a widow, and estate real or per-

Duty of overseer, in second stage.

Sale of real estate.

Removal of overseer.

Disability to continue nine days after vacancy.

Proceedings to be stopped, in case of reformation.


Husband's estate liable for

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