52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Non-Population

Week 34.  The theme this week is “Non-Population.”

For all of you who are not spending your life deep in the census, let’s start with a short bit of background.  The U.S. Constitution provides that an enumeration of all residents in the United States be taken every ten years.  That brief sentence on its own seems to cause a lot of consternation today.  I think that perhaps it has in the past, too.

So, every ten years, since 1790, people have gone out to count every resident of these United States.  Each census has collected somewhat different data.   The early censuses listed the head of each household and the number of people living there – male, female, free, slave, grouped by age category.  Starting in 1850, the census began to enumerate and list every member of the household, along with basic information about that person – name, age, gender, marital status, place of birth, etc.  Beyond that, other questions have been asked in each census.

The list of individuals is known as the Population Schedule of the census.  In addition to the Population Schedule, census takers have collected other Non-Population data primary about agriculture, manufacturing and industry, and mortality.  The National Archives has a nice article about what to expect in each of these Non-Population Schedules here.

This week, let me introduce you to Otway Licepious Bailey.  Is that a great name, or what?  Most of what I find about Otway starts in a short biography in “History of Texas together with a Biographical History of Tarrant and Parker Counties”, published in 1895, and from his obituary, published in the Edmond Sun in Edmond, Oklahoma, 15 Oct 1814.

 

 

Uncle Otway was born 25 March 1831 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.  While he was still a child, Otway and his parents, Francis Baker Bailey and Evalina Belmont Hill Bailey, moved to Arkansas.  They were in Pope County, Arkansas by 1837.  (I hope I can one day prove that they were in Arkansas in 1836 before statehood.  But that’s a task for a different day.)

Francis B. Bailey, Otway (and Hume, my great-great-grandfather)’s father, was a farmer in Pope County.  If we look in the 1850 Agricultural Schedule of the Census at Ancestry, we find …. that Ancestry shows no Agricultural Schedule for Arkansas survives.

It seems like the Non-Population Schedules were not preserved with as much care as the more critical Population Schedule.  However!  Family Search provides the actual films of the census books.  Digging in the Family History Library catalog, I was able to find partial sections of the Non-Population Schedules for Arkansas mixed in on a film with partial Mortality Schedules.  Don’t give up if you don’t find your person in the index.  In this case, I was able to find Francis listed as Francis P Bailey (as he was in the Population Schedule, with the correct family).

 

 

It looks like Francis was not what you would call the giant plantation owner.  The Agricultural Schedule says that he owned 160 acres, of which only 12 were improved (cleared for cultivation), worth just $280.  He had 3 cows, 2 oxen, and 25 swine.  And in the year preceding the census, he produced 300 bushels of Indian corn, 20 bushels of sweet potatoes, and 300 lbs. of butter.

Two of Otway’s older brothers headed to Texas during the days of the Republic of Texas, receiving their headright of land there by 1840.  Otway was too young to go with them, but he followed close behind.  Otway and Amanda Colvin married 8 Dec 1853 in Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas and they headed to Texas.  By 1856, they were living in Austin, but moved north to Dallas by the next year.

In the 1860 Census, in the Population Schedule, we find them in Farmers Branch, Texas.  Otway lists his occupation as blacksmith with $800 worth of real estate and $1000 worth of personal estate.  My hunch was that he also worked as a farmer on a relatively small piece of land.  In that area, it seemed like everyone had a farm.

So, I tried to find them in the 1850 Manufacturing and 1850 Agricultural Schedules of the Census.  No luck.  When I read the finding aid (see the link above) from the National Archives, it noted that neither farms nor manufacturing businesses that made less than $500 were typically enumerated.  Well, if he’s doing both, there’s no surprise that neither his farm nor his shop is listed.

During the Civil War, Otway’s gunsmithing abilities were put to use in the Confederate Armory in Lancaster, Texas.  His biography places him in a pretty prominent position there.  If that were true, it would be really pretty cool.  Lancaster pistols from the Confederacy are very, very sought-after by collectors.  But researching the Armory, it appears that while he may well have worked there, he was not in charge of the Armory.  However, based on his wealth after the war, he may have had some sort of prominent role there, just not one that shows up as the head of the Armory.  It does appear that he was very much involved in making the famous pistols.

After the Civil War, we find Otway and his family back in the Dallas area by the time of the 1870 census.  This time, he is listed with an occupation of Gunsmith with real estate valued at $21000 and personal property valued at $800.  That value of $21000 in real estate suggests owning land to me.  But, when we search both the Agricultural and Manufacturing schedules, Otway isn’t there.  And the 1870 Industry Schedule for Texas does not appear to be available.

In 1880, Otway and his family have moved a bit west, to Tarrant County, Texas.  This time, Otway is listed as a farmer and machinist.  And we find him in both the Manufacturing and the Agricultural Schedules.  In the Manufacturing Schedule, he owns a machine shop that employs 12 people, all of whom work 10 hours per day all year round.  The Agricultural Schedule shows that he owns 80 acres of tillable land and 180 of unimproved land, worth $3500.  He has 4 horses, 9 milch cows, and 10 other cows.  Five calves were born this year.  They made 700 lbs of butter on the farm.  He has 25 acres under tillage for Indian corn, yielding 300 bushels, 7 acres of oats yielding 100 bushels, 25 acres of wheat, yielding 260 bushels.  He has  an orchard with 30 bearing apple trees and 240 peach trees.

 

 

So, what’s the net?  Well, we do find out a bit more about Otway and his family’s life through the Non-Population Schedules.  We did not uncover a lot by way of lineage details, but we can tell more about his and his family’s life.

The fact that there are a lot of gaps in the Non-Population Schedules, and many are outright missing or partial or misfiled, means that you will have to search harder for this information.  And in the end it may not be there.  When you do find them, you find a lot of color to your ancestors’ lives. But isn’t that they way it always is in genealogy?

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Author: Scott Dickson

I've been doing family history research since the late 1980s. Almost all of my family came into the southern colonies and worked there way across the South. Lately, I've started to look at my wife's New England, Irish, and French Canadian ancestry. My tree is online at http://wrenacres.com/genealogy.

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