Tithing man-[sometimes spelled tything-man] was an early elected town position in New Hampshire (and other parts of New England).
It was the tithing man’s duty to detain and arrest Sabbath travelers, unless they were going to or from church, or to visit the sick and do charitable deeds. His job was also to keep the boys from playing in the meeting-house, and to wake up any who might fall asleep during meeting.
In some towns, tithing men were provided with staves, which were sticks that had brass upon one end and feathers upon the other. Called “church sticks” and “tithing sticks,” the brass end was used to hit the sleeping men or restless children, and the feathers were used to brush the faces of sleeping women. Another version (kinder) shows a rabbits tail on one end and a fox tail on the other.
Tithing men also collected the taxes mandated for the support of the church and the minister of the gospel (thereby the name, from the worth tithe, ” to pay a portion of one’s income, especially to the church.”). They were expected to report on idle or disorderly persons, profane swearers or cursers and Sabbath breakers.