A little "hog-gerel" to mark local elections

Stephen Lingwood wrote about today’s UK local elections, which led me to a free-form Google search about local elected officers. One offfice, known in New England, that tickled me was the hogreeve: “a now-ceremonial position formerly in charge of rounding up loose hogs.” (Wikipedia)

I love it.

From that, I found a little poem from 1819 about a New England parson appointed the hogreeve (as was the custom for men of rank recently married; he was a widower) only to flip this honor back on the townsfolk:

The parson smil’d and said “I am no novice;
Full forty years I’ve been in the same office,
In this appointment, all that’s new
Is four legg’d hogs to drive instead of two.”

Remember that my hogreeve colleagues. A more quaint if no more flattering term than “cat herder.”

The Clerical Hogreeve (The Genealogue)

One Reply to “A little "hog-gerel" to mark local elections”

  1. Royalston, Mass., where I served my first pastorate back in the 1970’s, still had a “municipal hogreeve,” whose responsibility it was to round up stray animals, especially livestock. The fellow who held the office got pressed into action one day after I drove by a local farm, only to have my car charged by a large bull that had gotten loose. (A rather startling experience, I would add.)

    I don’t know whether there is still a hogreeve in Royalston, but I’ll find out. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other little New England towns that still retain the office.

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