Thursday, November 23, 2017

Tax on a gift car? Happy Thanksgiving to my readers


The Dr. Anna Shaw house in Moylan. Shaw was such a well known national suffragette leader post cards were made of her home. The above picture is from c.1918

NOTE.  National Suffragist Leader Dr. Anna Shaw was given a car by New York suffragettes but when she bought it home to Rose Valley the state and county demanded a tax be paid. Shaw said her main address was New York and did not have to pay a tax.

The Dr. Shaw Car Tax

“Eastern Victory”, the gift automobile of New York suffragettes, is again in the hands of Dr. Anna Howard Shaw and while the peerless leader of suffrage cannot claim to have won a victory in her fight to avoid the payment of taxes, she again has the little yellow car which has been the cause of a great deal of talk and no little amusement.  The car was sold by Constable A. C. W. Matthews of Media, Saturday afternoon at Pierson’s garage, Media, and a hundred or more people gathered to see the fun.  The car was purchased by W. Roger Fronfield, attorney for the Woman’s Suffrage Party of Delaware County, for $230, and a few minutes later was run back to the garage at the Dr. Shaw home in Moylan, from which it had been taken by the constable after the levy on July 9.
The sale of the car followed a refusal of Judge Johnson of the county courts, to grant an injunction restraining the constable from selling it.  A hearing on this application for an injunction was held Saturday morning in court.  Dr. Shaw, by her attorney, W. R. Fronfield, declared that she is a resident of New York and not of Pennsylvania, and that there is no authority for the county to collect by a distrait a state tax of 1914.  He cited the Act of 1913 to sustain this position.
He called Hugh Brannan, assessor for Upper Providence Township, in which Dr. Shaw’s house at Moylan is located.  Mr. Brannan said that he went a number of times to Dr. Shaw’s residence and that he judged from the appearance of the property that it required a substantial income to maintain it.  He was unable to find any resources in this county, but on the strength of appearances he made the assessment $20,000 and the County Commissioners raised this fifty per cent, making a total of $30,000.  He said that several times he was promised that Dr. Shaw would make the assessment herself, but she never did so.
President J. D. Pierson of the County Commissioners, and former Commissioner George W. Allen, now Warden of the county jail, testified that Dr. Shaw was allowed practically three weeks more time than anyone else in Delaware County.  They declared that Miss Anthony appeared before the Commissioners and was given a blank to be filed out, but she did not fill it out and made no appeal.  At that time the Commissioners were not told that Dr. Shaw was a resident of New York.
Miss Lucy E. Anthony, secretary for Dr. Shaw, was called by Isaac E. Johnson, solicitor for the county.  She said that she made the affidavit to the bill asking for the injunction and produced a sworn statement by Dr. Shaw.  This statement set forth that Dr. Shaw went to New York to reside, whereas, Miss Anthony’s affidavit placed the time for going to New York as one year earlier.  Her explanation did not appear to satisfy the County Solicitor.  She gave Dr. Shaw’s residence as Hotel McAlpin, New York City.
Miss Anthony’s attention was called to a magazine article in which Dr. Shaw is quoted as giving her home as Moylan and she professed to know nothing of the article.
A letter was produced by the County Solicitor from Dr. Shaw to Assessor Brannan in which Dr. Shaw said, “Since it is impossible to obtain justice in Delaware County, and since the assessor persists in his unjust and disproportionate assessment, I shall immediately take up a legal residence in New York”.  Judge Johnson commented upon this letter as follows:  “According to that letter she did not move until after the trouble started.  I am not surprised that she did not appear in court today, if she wrote that letter.”  It is probable that this influenced him to refuse the injunction.  He made the refusal at 1 o’clock and the sale was held one hour later.
The first bid made at the sale was by James R. McDowell of Media, who bid $130.  This was raised by Ex-Judge Welliver of Montour County, and several others joined in the bidding, the last bidding being raised a dollar at a time.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!

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