In the larger " towns " the officers elected at this meeting may consist of five, seven or nine selectmen, a clerk, a treasurer, three or more assessors, three or more overseers of the poor, one or more collectors of taxes, one or more auditors, one or more surveyors of highways, a road commissioner, a sewer commissioner, a board of health, one or more constables, two or more field drivers, two or more fence viewers, and a tree warden; but in the smaller " towns " the number of selectmen niay be limited to three, the selectmen may assess the taxes, be overseers of the poor, and act as a board of health, and the treasurer or constable may collect the taxes.
Each civil or " poor law " parish was governed by the vestry and the overseers of the poor, dating from the Poor Law of 1601; the vestry, which dealt with general affairs, being presided over by the rector, and having the churchwardens as its chief officials.
His overseers were under contract never to bleed them; but he manumitted only a few at his death.
In 1902 he became president of the Board of Overseers of Harvard College.
3 the overseers or bishops and deacons, though their functions are less spiritual than administrative and economic, are allowed to take the place of the prophets and teachers.