Chatham, one of the older townships of Cape Cod, was settled in 1656 by a handful of Pilgrims, whose surnames still dominate the town's census list. The town was incorporated in 1712. Originally a farming community, its inhabitants found deep sea fishing more lucrative, and today small boat deep sea fishing is an important source of the town's revenue. Covering an area of approximately seventeen square miles, Chatham is a happy combination of past and present: old fashioned and picturesque, yet affording the best in modern facilities. The town operates under the town meeting form of government. The executive officers are a board of five part-time selectmen and an executive secretary. Once a year, the citizens meet to discuss articles in a town warrant and pass or reject them. Most funds spent by the town are voted at this meeting. The citizens of Chatham enjoy the special benefits of forward-looking zoning and current planning, and of both public and private conservation efforts. Warm summer days with cool summer nights, beautiful warm indian summers, and relatively mild winters make Chatham a comfortable place in which to live year-round or vacation.