Tuesday, April 27, 2010


When I finally got back online after a week-long absence I made it a
point to check out what my favorite geneabloggers had been up to while
I was gone. One of the blogs I visited was Randy Seaver's always
informative Genea-Musings and one post caught my attention,
Devier J. Smith in 1880 Agricultural Census. Looking at the wealth
of information the Agricultural Schedule had given Randy, I wondered if
a search for some of my ancestors in Maine might do the same for me.
So following Randy's tip, I searched Selected U.S. Federal Census 
Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880 at After all,
Maine was one of the states covered.

Well, I hit the jackpot! I found quite a bit about my West, Barker, and
other ancestral lines there and I'll be sharing what I found here on my
blog over the course of time. Tonight I'm starting with my 3x great-
grandfather John Cutter West on the 19Jun 1860 Agricultural
Schedule for Upton, Oxford County Me, pp11-12. There are 48
questions on the Schedule and they give a good picture of what seems
to me to have been a moderately successful farm:

Acres of land: Developed-40 acres
Undeveloped-160 acres

Cash value of Farm- 1000 (dollars)
Value of farming Implements and Machinery- 100 (dollars)
Mules and Asses-0
Milch Cows-3
Working Oxen-4
Other cattle-12
Value of Livestock-500 (dollars)

Wheat, bushels of -0
Rye, bushels of- 40
Indian Corn, bushels of -0
Oats, bushels of-150
Rice, lbs of-0
Tobacco, lbs of-0
Ginned Cotton, bales of 400lbs ea-0
Wool,lbs of-30
Peas and Beans, bushels of-5
Irish Potatoes, bushels of-300
Sweet Potatoes, bushels of-0
Barley, bushels of-0
Buckwheat, bushels of-40
Value of Orchard Products, in dolls.-0
Butter, lbs. of-0
Cheese, lbs of-0
Hay, tons of-80
Clover Seed, bushels of-0
Grass seeds, bushels of-0
Hops, lbs. of-0
Dew Rotted, tons of-0
Water Rotted, tons of-0
Other prepared Hemp-0ItalicFlax, lbs of-0
Flaxseed, bush. of-0
Silk Cocoons, lbs, of-0
Maple Sugar, lbs of-100
Cane Sugar,hhds of 1000 lbs,-0
Molasses, gallons of and from what made-0
Beeswax, lbs. of-0
Honey, lbs.of-0
Value of Homemade Manufacture-10 (dollars)
Value of Slaughtered Animals-125 (dollars)

So John Cutter West owned a 200 acre farm the value of which (not
counting the money earned from any crops sold) was $1600. His main
crop was "Irish Potatoes" followed by hay, oats, buckwheat and rye,
and he produced 100 lbs of maple sugar, probably from trees on that
160 "undeveloped" part of his property. I was puzzled how he could
have produced 30 lbs. of wool with no sheep until I saw that last
column. Perhaps the sheep were slaughtered? Or to be more optimistic
for them, perhaps they were sold off for some reason. And the presence
of "4 working oxen" confirms for me the story I posted in 2008 about
John Cutter West and two companions using a team of oxen to find
shelter in a snowstorm (See "The Value of an Ox")

I hope John Cutter West was happy with his life on that day in Jun
1860 because a year and a half later disease would strike his family
and change it forever.

We'll be looking at the same farm on the 1870 Schedule next.

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