Orson Barber of Calhoun County and the Early Censuses

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

My 2nd great-grandfather, Franklin E. Barber, was born in Sheridan (Township) Calhoun County, Michigan His marriage record said he was 28 years old and when he married in Calhoun County in November 1869. Likewise, he lived in Calhoun County during the 1870 and 1880 Censuses.

  • 1841 – Born in Sheridan Township, Calhoun County.
  • 1869 – Married in Calhoun County.
  • 1870 – Census lived in Sheridan Township, Calhoun County.
  • 1880 – Census Lived in Albion, Calhoun County.

Because his known life events prior to 1897 all take place in Calhoun County, I am hypnotizing that he probably lived in Calhoun County during the 1860 and 1850 Censuses. Searches for him during these censuses have been unsuccessful, so I thought I’d take a closer look at Barber families in Calhoun County of the 1840s, 50s, and 60s. In the 1840 Census, there were two Barber households in Calhoun County, Orson and Thomas. First, I’ll look at Orson Barber and learn about him.

Orson Barber of Calhoun County, MI

1840 Census

Orson Barber’s household in Pinckney, Calhoun County consisted of:

  • 1 Male, under 5          [Asa J] v. (b. 1835-1840)
  • 1 Male, 20 thru 29      Orson b. (b. 1810-1820)
  • 1 Female, Under 5      [Clarissa A.] (b. 1835-1840)
  • 1 Female, 20 to 29      [Mary A.] (b. 1810-1820)

I was really confused by this entry. Pinckney is located in Putnam Township, Livingston County, Michigan, however, the 1840 Census apparently places Pinckney in Calhoun county, two counties away. Regardless of where Orson Barber and family were in 1840, they definitely moved to Calhoun county in 1843.

1843 – Land Purchase

On 1 February 1843, Orson Barber and Henry L. White of Calhoun County acquired 38.11 acres, the SE¼ of the NW¼ of Section 24 in township One (Clarence Township) South of Range 4 West.

Current map/view of Calhoun County showing where Orson Barber’s farm was in 1843.

1850 Census

The 1850 Census found Orson Barber and family living in Tekonsha Township:

  • Name              Age      Born                Occupation     Real Estate Value
  • Orson              37        New York        Farmer            (Blank)
  • Mary A.           35        Connecticut
  • Clarissa A.       14        New York
  • Asa J.               12        New York        Attended School ¼
  • Harriet L.         5          Michigan         Attended School

1860 Censuses

Orson Barber – The 1860 Census found Orson living in Clarence Township.

  • Name              Age      Born                Occupation     Real Estate Value
  • Orson              49        New York        Farmer            $900
  • Mary A.           46        Connecticut    Housekeeper
  • Asa J.               22        New York        Farmer Labour
  • Harriet L.         15        Michigan         Domestic
  • Martha            20        Michigan         Domestic
  • Frances A.       5          Michigan

It appears that Clarissa is no longer in the household (married, moved, or died).

It appears that Asa married Martha and had a daughter, Frances.

Orson’s farm value in 1860 was the second lowest of the five farms on the census page, which ranged from $800 to $4,000. Still, his farm had 120 acres, 80 of which was improved.

1870 Census

None of the Orson Barber family appear in the 1870 Census in Calhoun County, Michigan. Other researchers suggest he located to Ingham County, Michigan, and he died and was buried there in 1893.

Facts of Orson Barber’s Life

  • 1813 – Orson Barber was born between 1810 and 1813 in New York.
  • 1835 – He married Mary A. [LNU] about 1835.
  • 1836 – His daughter Clarissa was born in New York.
  • 1838 – His son Asa was born in New York.
  • 1840 – He was enumerated in Calhoun County.
  • 1843 – He purchased 38 acres in Clarence Township, Calhoun County, Michigan.
  • 1845 – His daughter Harriet L. was born in Michigan.
  • 1850 – He was farming in Tekonsha Township, Calhoun County, Michigan.
  • 1860 – He was farming in Clarence Township, Calhoun County, Michigan.
  • 1893 – He died in Ingham County, Michigan.

Orson Barber appears in the Agriculture Schedules for 1850 and 1860.

  • Items                             1850    1860
  • Acres Improved            35        80
  • Acres Unimproved      20        40
  • Cash Value of Farm    400      900
  • Value Imp. & Mach.    40        60
  • Horses                            –           2
  • Asses & Mules            –
  • Milch Cows                 2          3
  • Working Oxen            –
  • Other Cattle                –           6
  • Sheep                            –           40
  • Swine                            –           6
  • Value of Live tock       25        252
  • Wheat                             50        150
  • Rye                                 –
  • Indian Corn                 40        250
  • Oats                                              140
  • Rice                               –
  • Tobacco                      –
  • Cotton
  • Wool                                             130

Although it appears that Orson moved around, he seems to have improved with each move. Certainly, his original 38 acres in Clarence Township was unimproved in 1843. By 1850, he had 55 acres, 35 acres had been improved in Tekonsha Township. And by 1860 he had 80 improved acres out of 120 total back in Clarence Township.  Without a doubt, Orson had a prosperous life.

Arthur Brown in the Censuses

Census Sunday
Brown Line
By Don Taylor

Introduction

I have long believed that Arthur Durwood Brown, my great-grandfather was the son of William Henry Brown and not the son of Henry Mack Brown. I think that the 1870 and 1880 Census records contribute greatly to that belief.

1870 Census

Other records have long identified that Arthur Durwood Brown was born in December 1869 and the Census Record for Arthur confirms that. It shows the Henry Brown family as consisting of any apparent husband and wife with two children.[i] Henry is a farm laborer and Marian is keeping house. Children Nittie and Arthur are 3 years and 7/12 years old respectively. Because Arthur was born during the previous year, his month of birth, “Dec,” was also enumerated. Twenty-five-year-old Henry is a farm laborer and 23-year-old Marian is keeping house.  There is no entry for Henry owning property.

Immediately following Henry and family are William Sanford, his wife Mary and four apparent children. William’s farm is the most valuable farm on the page, valued at $10,000. So, it appears to me that Henry, who is married to William’s daughter, is most likely a farm hand on William’s farm.

1870 Census – Henry Brown & William Sanford – Detail

1880 Census.

The 1880 Census is the first census which shows the relationship between individuals. Henry Brown is the head of the family, Marian is his wife, and 10-year-old Arthur is enumerated with his younger siblings, Charles, Mary, Almond, Clifford, William, Clyde, and Addison. Nittie, who should be 13 during the 1880 Census, isn’t enumerated.

1880 Census – Henry Brown – Detail
1880 Census – Marion Brown & Children – Detail

William Sanford’s family is enumerated on the same page as Marian as in the 1870 Census.

1890 Census

Not available.  Please see: Census.Gov > History > Genealogy > Decennial Census Records > Availability of 1890 Census.

1900 Census

The 1900 Census finds Arthur D. Brown married with children living in Township 136, Ranges 25-29, Crow Wing County Minnesota. The census reports that he was born in December, 1870, and was 29-years-old—A minor error. He had been married for seven years and had three children. His 21-year-old wife, Mary, had had four children, one who had died.[ii] The three children enumerated were.

      • Clyde             Born Feb 1894
      • Victoria        Born June 1896
      • Clarence      Born Dec 1897

1910 Census

The 1910 Census finds the Arthur Brown household had moved west to North Dakota and lived near Merkle, Kidder County. With him are his wife, daughter Victoria and his three youngest (at the time) children, Cora, Clifford (my grandfather), and Edward. There is an eight year gap between Clifford and Edward, suggesting a lost child.[iii]

1920 Census

The 1920 Census finds the Arthur Brown household had moved back to Minnesota and were renting a home in Sylvan Township, Cass County. With him are his wife, Mary, and five children, Clifford (my grandfather), Edward, Arthur, Charles, and Delores.

Death

Arthur Durwood Brown died on 27 August 1928 in Walker, Cass County, Minnesota. He is buried in Gull River Cemetery, Pillager, Cass County, Minnesota.


Sources

  • 1870 Census (NARA), 1870 – Henry Brown – Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan. “United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHC NMT : 19 March 2020), Arthur Brown in entry for Henry Brown, 1870.
  • 1880 Census, 1880 – Henry Brown – Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW3 CST : 26 August 2017), Arthur Brown in household of Henry Brown, Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district ED 237, sheet 276B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,254,609.
  • 1900 Census, 1900 Census – Arthur D Brown – Twnp 136, Crow Wing, Minnesota. Family Search.
  • 1910 Census, 1910 – Arthur D Brown – Merkel, Kidder, North Dakota. “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MLGT-WDB : accessed 10 March 2019), Arthur D Brown, Merkel, Kidder, North Dakota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 225, sheet 4A, family 67, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1142; FHL microfilm 1,375,155.
  • 1920 Census, 1920 Census – Arthur Brown – Sylvan Township 133, Range 30, Cass County, Minnesota. “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4MW-7MK : accessed 24 September 2020), Arthur Brown, Sylvan, Cass, Minnesota, United States; citing ED 109, sheet 4B, line 67, family 71, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 824; FHL microfilm 1,820,824.
  • Find a Grave, Internet, Arthur Durwood Brown (1868-1928) – Memorial 87334615. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 24 September 2020), memorial page for Arthur Durwood Brown (1868–27 Aug 1928), Find a Grave Memorial no. 87334615, citing Gull River Cemetery, Cass County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by Don Taylor (contributor 47627546).

 Endnotes:

[i] The 1870 Census did not provide relationship information.

[ii] Subsequent Research had indicated that the child was Martin. Born in 1900 and died before June 1, 1900.

[iii] There was one—Dorothy was born sometime between 1905 and 1907 and died in 1908.

John Parsons, AGBI, and the 1790 Census

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Sometimes you encounter sources that don’t make sense. Recently, I encounter several trees that identified John Parsons being in the American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI), Volume 131, Page 462, and that the AGBI was the source. The AGBI isn’t really a source, rather, it is a finding aid. It is an index that points to actual sources. In this case, it directed the researcher to “Heads of fams. at the first U.S. census. Ms. By U.s. Bureau of the Census. Washington, 1908. (363p.): 34.”

Heads of Families – 1790 Census – Massachusetts:

Page 34, Column 1, Persons 3 & 4 show John Parsons, Jr. & John Parsons (Sr.) in Sandisfield Town, Berkshire County, Massachusetts.[i]

Parsons, John, Jr. 1 1 1

1 Male 16 & Older        John Jr. (Head of Household)
1 Male < 16                   Appears to be Samuel born 1789
1 Female                       Apparently Mary, John’s wife.


Parsons, John [Sr.] 2 2 5

2 Males 16 & Older

  • John (Head of Household)
  • Possibly Simon (17), Timothy (21), or Ashbel (24)

(Note: Frederick died before 1790)
(Note: John, Jr., was enumerated above.)

2 Males < 16

  • Apparently Gibson (age 8)
  • Apparently, Frederick (age 6)

5 Females

  • Clearly John’s 2nd wife, Mercy
  • Apparently daughter Sally (age 2)
  • Apparently daughter Mercy (age 12)
  • Apparently daughter Martha (age 15)
  • Possibly Roxey (age 23), or Mary (age 29)

(Note: John’s daughter, Hanna, died before 1790.)

Analysis

John Junior’s household exactly fits expectations for his household in 1790.

John (Senior’s) household fits expectations for John with his second wife (Mercy) and their children. Plus, there are several individuals in the household The only household individuals of question are several of his children from his first marriage. Which were still at home and which had either moved out or had died.

Neither Simon, Timothy, nor Ashbel appear to be enumerated elsewhere. So, the second male over 16 could be any of them.

Likewise, I haven’t found any records for marriages or deaths for John’s daughters, Roxey or Mary, so the fifth female could be either of them. 

Follow-up:

  1. Search for Simon, Timothy, and Ashbell in other records for 1790 to eliminate them from being in the household of John Parsons, Senior.
  2. Search for marriage records for Roxey and Mary. If married before 1790, verify if they might be in the census record of their husband(s).
  3. Search for evidence of death for Roxey, Mary, Simon, Timothy, or Ashbell prior to 1790. Eliminate them as being in John Parsons Senior’s household in 1790.

 Endnotes:

[i] 1790 Census – John Parsons, Jr. & John Parsons (Sr.) – Sandisfield Town, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. “Heads of Families – 1790 Census – Massachusetts – Page 34, Column 1, Persons 3 & 4. – Accessed 2 August 2020. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1907/dec/heads-of-families.html.

Joel Barnes & the 1840 Census

Census Sunday
Roberts-Barnes
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I know very little about my 3rd great-grandfather, Joel Barnes. He may have been born 1bout 1790 in Broome County, New York. He married Lucy Wilson Taft and they had at least one child, Nelson, born in 1816. I have no idea about any other children nor any death information. I was unsuccessful in finding Joel in the 1850 Census records so I thought I would look for him in the 1840 Census.

Expectation & Findings:

In 1840, I would expect Joel to be about 50 years old (born 1780-1790). A search for Joel Barnes in the 1840 Census yielded 8 results:

  • Joel Barnes, Jr., Age: 20-30 – Living in Orwell Township, Bradford, Pennsylvania. Too young.
  • Joel Barnes, Age 60-70 – Living in Orwell Township, Bradford, Pennsylvania. (1770-1780)
  • Joel Barnes, Age either 80-79 or 30-40 living in Mansfield, Cattaraugus, New York. One seems too old and the other too young. But it is still possible. However, there are also two females in the household, one 20 to 30 and another one 70 to 80. This feels like it could represent Joel Barnes, his wife, his son Nelson along with Nelson’s wife and others.
  • Joel Barnes, Age 20 to 30, living in Giles, Tennessee. (Too young).
  • Joel Barnes, Age 20 to 30, Living in Marion County, South Carolina. (Too Young)
  • Joel Barnes, Age 20 to 30, Living in Madison County, Kentucky. (Too young)
  • Joel Barnes, Age 50 to 60, Living in Thompson, Windham County, Connecticut.

1840 Census – New York, Cattaragus County, Mansfield – Page 66 – 16th from top – Joel Barnes

2 1 – – – 1 – – – 1  |  – – – – 1 – – – 1

Ages Males Females Comments/Notes
< 5 2 Unknown (Grand) Children?
5-10 1 Unknown (Grand) Children?
20-30 1 Could possibly be Mercy Elisa Taft
30-40 1 Could possibly be Nelson Barnes
60-70 1 Could be Lucy Wilson Taft
70-80 1 Could be Joel Barnes.

There was no Joel Barnes in the 1850 Census in Cattaraugus County, However, there are 52  other Barnes individuals living in Cattaraugus County during the 1850 Census.  I’m not comfortable ascribing this Joel Barnes as my Joel Barnes, the father of Nelson Barnes.

Future Action

I don’t think the various Census records will help me discover more about Nelson Barnes’ father, Joel Barnes. Maybe property or probate records will shed light upon this family line.

Joel Barnes & the 1850 Census

Census Sunday
Roberts-Barnes
By Don Taylor

I know very little about my 3rd great-grandfather, Joel Barnes. He may have been born 1bout 1790 in Broome County, New York. He married Lucy Wilson Taft and they had at least one child, Nelson, born in 1816. I have no idea about any other children nor any death information.

In 1850, I would expect Joel to be about 60 years old.

Search Results

Using Family Searcy, my search for Joel Barnes in the 1850 Census yielded 13 results.

    • Joel Barnes, Born 1846 in Georgia – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, born 1845 in Indiana – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1839 in Kentucky – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, born 1836 – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1830 in South Carolina – Too Young
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1829 in South Carolina – Too Young
    • Joel Barnes, born 1827 in North Carolina – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, born 1816 in North Carolina – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1824 in Kentucky- Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1810 in Pennsylvania – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, born 1795 in Vermont – Possible
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1790 in Tennessee. Possible.
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1782 in Massachusetts. Possible.

That left 3 possible Barnes’ listed by birthyear.

    • 1795 – Living in Corinth, Orange County, Vermont. Has an apparent wife, Ruth, and an implied mother living with him.  No Lucy; unlikely my Joel Barnes.
    • 1790 – Living in South Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee. He has an apparent daughter in law and two grandchildren living with him.  No Lucy; unlikely my Joel Barnes.
    • 1782 – Living in Thompson, Windham, Connecticut. He has an apparent wife, Mary Barnes and an apparent daughter, Eliza; unlikely my Joel Barnes.

None of these entries are consistent with expectations, so I believe that either Joel died before 1850 or was enumerated differently.

Future Action

Look at potential Joel Barnes’ in the 1840 Census.