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Union County Personal Property Tax List, 1826-1845
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Personal Property Tax List Records (1826-1846)
These records contains lists of persons owing personal property tax for each year. On February 3, 1825, the Ohio General Assembly passed “An act establishing an equitable mode of levying the taxes of this state.” This act taxed horses at a fixed rate of $40 per head, cattle at a fixed rate of $8 per head, and pleasure carriages valued over $100 and took effect for the tax year 1826. This taxing method resulted in instituting a tax system whereby all residents in the county owning horses, cattle and/or a pleasure carriage had to pay a tax on them; thus creating an annual list of individuals residing in the county, as long as they were subject to the tax.
A “General Property Tax Law” was passed on March 2, 1846, also known as the “Kelly Law,” in the namesake of bills creator Alfred Kelly. This law expanded the chattel tax beyond just horses, cattle and pleasure carriages, to “every tangible thing, being the subject of ownership, whether animate or inanimate.” Horses, cattle, mules, sheep, hogs, pleasure carriages, gold or silver watches and pianos were the special object of taxation. Objects that were exempt included household goods valued under a total of one hundred dollars, food, farming implements, mechanics’ tools and one cow, eight sheep, and four hogs unless the owner had other property worth over one hundred dollars. Exemptions and tax rates changed many times over in the proceeding decades, but this basic tax structure, which taxed “personal property,” through various variations lasted until 1931.