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City Commissioners, Office of the

[Record Group 1]

1.1 County Commissioners. Minutes
1718-1766, 1771-1776, 1797-1801, 1837-1841
7 volumes,
Includes names of County Commissioners, County Tax Assessors, County Treasurer, County Tax Collectors, and often, of Coroner, Sheriff, jailkeepers, Workhouse Keeper, County contractors and suppliers; principal matters dealt with in the Minutes are the administration of the County tax system and the income from rentals of public properties and loans, and of all other functions supported out of County income, such as the payment of Assemblymen's wages, bridge building, road openings, maintenance of public properties such as prisons, workhouses, court buildings, etc., and the administration of elections; often entered are records of orders drawn on County Treasurer for these charges which include date, amount of wages or costs, name of official paid or contractor or supplier, and some description of the services performed or the goods and quantities furnished; also entered are occasional estimates of County income and expenses, and annual statements of accounts of the County Treasurer; concerning the tax system there are entered the tax rate fixed for each year, some references to meetings with the County Assessors, instructions to constables concerning their annual Returns of Taxables, and to Collectors concerning their functions, as well as reports of their returns of taxes and arrearages; also entered are records of tax abatements or allowances made by the Commissioners including, in each case, the ame of the Collector, name of taxable for whom made, reason made, his ward or township, amount; after Revolution, Minutes also contain reports of road viewers and damage juries, notices of Commissioners' appointments of Assessors and Assistant Assessors, Tax Collectors and County Assessors; material concerning selection of jurors for County courts and, in the 19th century, notices of budget estimates (or at least anticipated deficits) of the Board of Health, the Inspectors of the County Prison, and Board of Controllers of the First School District of Pennsylvania, the Commissioners for the Erection of the County Prison (Moyamensing); and, throughout, communications of the Commissioners with the State General Assembly and City Councils.
volume 1771-1774 in custody of Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

vols. 17741776, 17971801, a microfilm copy, purchased from Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, of original volumes, included in Commission's Record Group 4, under heading "Tax and Exoneration Lists"
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


1.2 City Commissioners. Minutes
1906, 1912-1931
1 volume, 1 cu.ft.,
For Annual Reports, 1864-1873, see Office of the Mayor, Annual Reports.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.3 City Commissioners. Papers
1919, 1922-1923, 1929-1930, 1936
1 cu.ft.,
Chiefly general correspondence, bulk of which concerns payments of funeral expenses of honorably discharged veterans.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.4 Tax Receipts
1757
1 volume,
Summary statements, under headings of wards and townships, of total receipts due and amounts received from collectors of each; also includes collector's name, allowances made, and fees paid him.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.5 Value of Property in County
1779
1 volume,
Entries headed with ward and evaluator's name, lists property holders and total value only of their holdings; valuations totalled for each ward.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.6 County Carriage Tax Assessment Ledger
1783-1794
2 volumes, index
Entries under headings of all City wards and county districts, boroughs and townships; lists owner, number and types of carriages, number of sedan chairs and billiard tables and the assessments upon them.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.7 State Personal Tax Assessment Ledger
1832
2 volumes, index
Entries under headings of City wards and county districts, boroughs and townships list taxable's name, address, and detailed listing of personal property taxed; recapitulations for each ward and district, borough and township list total assesses value, total state tax fixed, total of collateral inheritances and tax upon them.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.8 State Tax Assessment Ledgers
1779-1783, 1785-1789, 1834-1835, 1841-1846, ca. 1847, 1848-1854
82 volumes, index (partial)
Entries, under headings of City wards and County districts, boroughs and townships, list taxable's name, occupation, list of property taxed (chiefly real estate but some entries include personal property) and assessed value.

Assessments 1779 include two separate assessments: one which was authorized by the Act of 20 March 1777 ". . . for emitting the sum of two hundred thousand pounds in bills of credit . . . and providing a fund for sinking the same by a tax on all estates real and personal. . . ." in order to make preparations for the defense of the State, and by its supplements of 13 October 1777, 10 December 1777, 5 December 1778, and 9 March 1779; and the other of which was authorized by the Act of 10 October 1779 ". . . for raising the additional sum of five million seven hundred thousand dollars for the current year. . . ." to be paid into the Continental treasury.

Other State assessments for the purposes of raising supplies for Congress, redeeming United States bills of credit or furnishing quotas towards the paying of annual interest of debt of the United States include those of 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783 which were authorized by the Acts of 1 June 1780, 21 June 1781, 27 March 1782, and 21 March 1783 respectively; and those for 1785-1789, authorized by the Act of 16 March 1785; of these most were also used as the basis for County taxes in the following manner:

County tax 1782 copied from 1781 assessment
County tax 1783 copied from 1782 assessment
County tax 1784 copied from 1783 assessment
County tax 1786 copied from 1785 assessment
County tax 1787 copied from 1786 assessment
County tax 1788 copied from 1787 assessment
County tax 1789 copied from 1788 assessment
County tax 1790 copied from 1789 assessment

Assessments 1781, 1782 and 1789 used for "Additional Supply Tax," "Sinking Fund Tax" and "Tax for Building Cells for the Convicts," respectively; vol. 1781 add "non-jurors" and those "not qualifed to their returns"; vol. 1783 add lists "of pleasurable carriages" giving owner, type and tax levied; vols. 1832-1854 add taxable's address or street location.
See card file for shelflist

For similar records 1769, 1774, see Provincial Tax Assessment Ledgers and Duplicates.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


1.8a State Tax Duplicates
1841, 1846-1848, 1850, 1852, 1853
9 volumes,
Includes: duplicates for the Moyamensing District, 1st Ward, 1848
Moyamensing District, 3rd & 5th Wards, 1850
Northern Liberties District, 6th Ward, 1847
Penn District (South), 1847
Penn Township, 1841
Roxborough Township, 1853
West Philadelphia District , 1846
West Philadelphia District, 2nd Ward, 1852

Entries list taxable's name, street location, list of personal property taxed and assessed value, assessed value of real property, amount of personal tax, total tax, recapitulations and summaries, and, very often, indication if taxes paid; occasional notation of allowances.

Volumes for the 1st Ward, Moyamensing; 6th Ward, Northern Liberties; Penn District (South); Roxborough Township; and 2nd Ward, West Philadelphia District, add list of "additional assessments."

Volumes for the 3rd & 5th Wards, Moyamensing; Roxborough Township; and 2nd Ward, West Philadelphia District, include militia exemption.

Volume for Penn Township adds County Treasurer's receipts.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


1.9 County Tax Assessment Ledger
1791-1826, 1841-1846, ca. 1847, 1848-1854
117 volumes, index (for majority)
Entries, under headings of City wards and County districts, boroughs and townships, list taxable's name, occupation, personal and real property taxed, assessed value.

Although there were no County tax assessments in the years 1782 to 1790, County taxes for these years were based upon annual State assessments for the purpose of raising supplies for Congress or paying annual interest of United States debt. See Record Series 1.8 for details.
See card file for shelf list.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


1.10 County Tax Duplicate
1773, 1775, 1793-1795, 1798, 1800, 1810-1819, 1822, 1836-1837, 1839, 1841, 1843, 1847-1848, 1850-1851, 1853
56 volumes,
Entires, under headings of City Wards and County districts, boroughs and townships, list taxable's name, total assessed value of property and total tax only; vols. 1773, 1775 add taxable's occupation; vols. 1800-1819 add dog tax; vols. 1810-1813 add Militia exemption fines; vol 1822 adds in tabular form lists of township assessors and collectors, total value of area's taxable property, total tax levied upon it, total personal tax levied, totals of both, separate totals of dog tax.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.11 County Funding Tax Duplicate
1788
2 volumes, 1 reel (microfilm),
Entries under headings of City wards and county districts, boroughs and townships list taxable's name, total assessed value (including real and personal estate) and tax levied; totals at foot of page and at end of each ward and district, borough and township entry.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.12 County Tax Abatements
1785-1796
1 volume,
Allowances for Funding Tax of 1785, County Tax 1792-1796, Health Tax 1796. Entries list taxable's name, reason for abatement, amount abated
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.13 County Tax Abatements, Memorandum Book
1780-1813 missing: 1794, 1804-1806
3 volumes,
Rough notes, under headings for City wards and county districts, boroughs and townships, listing taxable's name, property, and amount abated.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.14 Tax Collectors' Reports to Common Pleas Court of Real Estate to be Sold for Non-payment of Taxes.
1803-1818
1 volume, index
Entries list locations of lots and buildings to be sold, owners' names, amount of and years for which taxes not paid in Cedar Ward 1816, 1818; Locust Ward, 1813, 1817-1818; Middle Ward, 1807-1818; North Ward, 1817-1818; South Ward, 1803-1818; South Mulberry Ward, 1813-1817; Blockley Township, 1815-1817; Lower Dublin Township, 1815, 1818; Moyamensing Township, 1815, 1817-1818; Northern Liberties District (East), 1813-1817; Northern Liberties District (West), 1808-1818; Penn Township, 1809-1818; Southwark District, (undated).
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.15 Enumeration of School Children
1811-1816
4 volumes, 1 reel (microfilm),
Entries grouped by years and thereunder by City wards and county district, borough and township, list names of parents, names of children and their ages, names of persons teaching them.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.16 Enumeration of Taxables, Slaves, Deaf and Dumb Persons
1793, 1800, 1821, 1828, 1835
10 volumes, 4 reel (microfilm),
The records for the years 1793 and 1800 are microfilm copies of records in the custody of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The enumeration for 1800 includes only the City of Philadelphia. Entries list, for each City Ward and each County district, borough, and township for the year 1793 and for each City Ward for 1800, the name of each taxable, his occupation, totals and assessor's name. 1800 adds a separate entry of the names, sex and ages of slaves and names of their owners. Entry for each City ward and County district, borough and township for the years 1821, 1828, and 1835 list name and occupation of taxables (white and colored) and separate listings of names of slaves and deaf and dumb persons; assessors name and totals for all categories at entry's end.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.17 Duplicate Enumeration of Taxables, Slaves, Deaf and Dumb Persons
1821, 1828, 1835
5 volumes,
Entry for each City ward and County district, borough and township list name and occupation of taxables (white and colored) and separate listings of names of slaves and deaf and dumb persons; assessors name and totals for all categories at entry's end and add tabular recapitulations for all City Wards and County districts, boroughs and townships.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.18 Election Returns
1785, 1798-1799, 1820-1858, 1939-1969
141 volumes, 2 cu.ft.,
returns for 1785, 1798-1799 consist of scattered Election Clerks' tally sheets and/or official returns, usually at City ward or County township level for elections for Congress, Governor, Supreme Executive Council, State Senate and House of Representatives, County Commissioner, Sheriff, Coroner, Select Council; included are name of township or ward, candidates' names, vote totals, signatures of Inspectors or Clerks of Elections; these materials are not complete and exist on the reverse side of some of the surveys comprising Record Series 90.40, photostats of which have been prepared for more convenient use. Returns for 1820-1858 include those for all individual City wards and County Districts, Boroughs and Townships for all general and special elections in this period; for the years 1856-1858 some returns are entered as well for each voting division, or precinct, within large wards; in addition to the offices mentioned above, returns are included here for those of Common Council, County Auditor, President and/or Presidential Electors (beginning 1836) and, as the offices were created or made popularly elective, for those of Mayor, County Treasurer, Prothonotaries of the Court of Common Pleas and of District Court, Clerks of the Courts of Quarter Sessions, Criminal Sessions, and General Sessions, Clerk of the Orphans Court, Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills, Marshal of Police, District Attorney, County Surveyor, City Solicitor, City Controller, City Treasurer, Receiver of Taxes, Assessors, Aldermen, Constables, Inspectors of the County Prison, Guardians of the Poor, members of the Board of Health, Directors of the Public Schools, City Surveyors, Judges of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Auditor General, Surveyor General, Canal Commissioners; political party affiliations of candidates are often indicated; also included occasionally are returns by ward for offices of Mayor and Commissioners of the District of the Northern Liberties, and Commissioners of the Districts of Kensington, Spring Garden, Moyamensing and Richmond, and for Town Clerks of the Townships or Districts of Germantown, Penn, Kensington, Roxborough and Frankford; also included are returns on referenda on State Constitutional questions, on the questions of the sale of the State Public Works (1844), on prohibition of alcohol (1854); occasionally included are tabulations of state wide returns (County totals only) for offices of President, Governor, Canal Commissioner and Justices of the State Supreme Court; front of volume holds an 1821 "Schedule of Taxable Inhabitants" which includes City ward and borough and township totals, by race, and also of numbers of deaf and dumb persons and slaves in each.

Returns for 1932-1969 include those for party primaries as well as general and special elections, and list for each election, office titles and candidates' names and party affiliations, with returns entered by both division (precinct) and ward totals. Included are names of write-in candidates and the vote cast for each; often added are ward and division totals of military and absentee voters, and signatures of callers, insertors, tabulators and certifiers of returns of each ward and division sheet. In addition to the offices already listed above, there returns include votes for those of U.S. Senate, Lieutenant Governor, Judges of Pennsylvania Superior Court and Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court, County Court, Municipal Court, and Traffic Court, Magistrates, City Councilmen and Councilmen-at-large, State Treasurer, Secretary of Internal Affairs, Members of Democratic and Republican State Committees, Delegates and Alternates and Delegates-at-Large and Alternates to Democratic and Republican National Conventions, Constables, Delegates to the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention (1967), Judge of Election, Inspector of Election and Assessor. Also included are results of referenda on State Constitutional amendments, City and School District Loan questions, divisions of wards, Philadelphia Home Rule Charter of 1951, and amendments to it, harness-racing (1960), proposals of Constitutional Convention (1967), and recounts of the Republican results (1959) and the Democratic Primary for the U.S. Senate (1964).
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


1.18a Election Divisions of Philadelphia, Wards 1-51
1933
2 volumes,
Maps of each City ward, published by Elvino V. Smith and copyrighted by C. R. Rosenberg, which show location of streets, and to which have been added, by the City Commissioners, the boundaries of election divisions.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.19 Election Payroll
1851-1854
1 volume,
Entries list totals paid Inspectors and Judges of Elections, clerks, doorkeepers, of each ward and precinct.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.20 Register, Distribution of Assessment and Election Books
1842-1843, 1851
2 volumes,
Entries list assessors or election officials, their wards, date books received from Commissioners, occasional notices of return. vol. 1851 also records distributions of juror and militia books.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.21 Voting Division Maps
1933
1 cu.ft.,
For wards 1-12, 14-18, 20, 23, 26, 27, 34, 36, 38, 40, 41, 43, 46 & 50.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.22 Loan Certificate Stubs
1838-1854
10 volumes,
Stubs bear date of certificate issuance, title of loan, amount for which and person to whom issued, his signature.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.23 Journal, Transfers of Loan Certificates
1845-1854
2 volumes,
Entries list date, loan title and certificate number, value, assignor & assignee.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.24 Road Damages Payments
1831-1838
1 volume,
Entries grouped by roads. Lists property holders to whom damages awarded, amount, date paid and recipient.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.25 Voucher Stubs
1854
1 volume,
Stubs list number, date, amount, reason for payment, recipient's signature.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.26 Bureau of Weights and Measures. Annual Reports
1914
1 volume, index
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.27 Digest of County Laws
1839
1 volume, index
Published by the authority of the Commissioners of the County of Philadelphia by J. Crissy, publisher. Includes Acts of Assembly relating to the counties and townships throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and local laws relating to the County of Philadelphia.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1.28 Provincial Tax Assessment Ledgers and Duplicates
1769, 1774-1775
2 volumes, 1 reel (microfilm),
Includes assessment ledgers for the "twelfth 18 Penny Tax" of 1769 and the "seventeenth 18 Penny Tax" of 1774, on microfilm purchased from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission.which list, under headings of City Wards and County districts, townships and boroughs, taxable's name, and occasionally, occupation; personal and real property taxes, and assessed value.

Two volumes of tax duplicates for the years 1774 and 1775 which list, under heading of City Wards and County districts, townships and boroughs, taxable's name, and occasionally occupation; total assessed value of property and total tax only.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


1.29 Effective Supply Tax, Duplicate
1780
1 volume,
Duplicate of Pennsylvania Effective Supply Tax first levied in 1779 and continued in 1780 as a section in an Act entitled "A Supplement to an Act Entitled 'An Act for Funding and Redeeming the Bills of Credit of the United States of America and For Providing Means to Bring the Present War to an Happy Conclusion'". One volume exists for Frederick Township, giving assessments on land, dwellings, cattle, horses, servants, occupations, etc. for which the tax was later levied.
See also: Pennsylvania Archives, Third Series, volume 15, pp. 395-398
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
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Last updated on November 8, 2000