Massachusetts War Tax Resisters Mr. & Mrs. Roger Drury

the federal income tax filing deadline in the United States was March 15, not April 15 as it (usually) is these days. For this reason, some of the early examples of press accounts of the modern American war tax resistance movement are bunched around this date.

For example, there’s this, from the North Adams, Massachusetts, Transcript of :

Berkshire Couple Refuses to Pay Tax

Among 16 Signers of Statement Opposing Financing of War Preparations

Two Berkshire county persons, Mr. and Mrs. Roger Drury of Sheffield, are among 46 signers of a statement indicating refusal to pay income taxes because of a determination not to finance war preparations.

Released through the Tax Refusal Committee of Peacemakers, the statement cites President Truman’s decision to go ahead with the production of the hydrogen bomb as basis for an even firmer attitude.

One paragraph reads: “Today is the deadline for payment of income taxes. Unitedly we affirm our determination to refuse to pay taxes which are levied for the purpose of carrying on war. President Truman’s decision to begin the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb makes us even more determined than before to refuse the finance armaments.” [sic]

On , David Harris was released from federal prison after a 20-month stay for draft resistance. He used the occasion to (among other things) plug tax resistance. An excerpt from an article in San Mateo, California, Times:

Harris said the war in Vietnam will not end until the American people refuse to support it any more.

“When you refuse to pay taxes, when you refuse to go and work in the local napalm factory,” he said, “the war will end.”

Harris may have been influenced in this by his wife at the time, Joan Baez, who had been resisting taxes for several years. The couple had met in jail after being arrested at an anti-draft protest.

At the Cardiganshire Assizes on , according to the Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of :

James Davies was indicted for stealing a sovereign from on Elinor Williams.

It appears that the prosecutrix, who is a small householder, in this county, had distrained on the prisoner’s goods for arrears of rent due to her; but her ladyship “Rebecca” interfered, and took the goods all back. The prosecutrix paid the prisoner the sovereign to prevent a threat being put into execution, to the effect that “Rebecca” intended burning her property, and for which the prisoner was now indicted. After the prisoner had taken the sovereign, he promised the prosecutrix that he would give notice at the church door that she had paid it.

His lordship very clearly explained the law of robbery by using threats. The jury found the prisoner “Not guilty.”

Counsel for the prosecution, Messrs. Chilton, Q.C., and E.V. Williams, and attorney, Mr. Scandrell, Lampeter; and for the prisoner, Mr. Hall, and attorney, Mr. B. Evans, Newcastle-Emlyn.