Nelson Barnes & the 1840 Census

Census Sunday
Roberts-Barnes
By Don Taylor

Previously, I had looked at the lives of Nelson Barnes and his wife, Mercy Eliza Taft. (See Endnotes Below.)  I was unsuccessful in finding them in the 1840 Census. I thought I’d try again as part of my examination of the life of Joel Barnes.

Expectation:

In 1840, Nelson would have been 24 years old. He had married Mercy Eliza Taft in 1839 in New York. Mercy was born in 1822, so she should have been 18 at the time. They were in Sullivan County in 1845, but their whereabouts in 1840 is unknown. In 1840 I would expect them enumerated as:

Male 20-30
Female 15-20
Possibly a child under 5, but probably not.

There were five different Nelson Barnes enumerated in the 1840 Census.

1840 Censuses Entries for Nelson Barnes

  1. Indiana, Switzerland County, York Township, Page 352, 10th Name

– – – – – 1 |2 – – – 1
Male 20-30     – Not consistent.
Female 20-30  – Not consistent.

  1. Indiana, Allen County, Wayne Township, Page 46, 3rd from bottom.

– 2 – 2 1 – 1 | 1 1 – – – – 1
Male 40-50 – Not consistent.
Female 40-50 – Not consistent.

  1. Rhode Island, Providence, Burrillville, Page 1, 9th from bottom.

2 – – – 1 1 | – – – – – 1
Male 30-40 – Not consistent.
Female 30-40 – Not consistent

  1. New York, Steuben County, Lindley, Page 2, 21st from top.

– – – 1 2 1 | – – – 1
Male 30-40 – Not Consistent
Female 15-20 – Consistent

  1. New York, Delaware County, Franklin, Page 2, 11th from bottom.

– – 1 – 1 | – – – – – – – 1
Male 20-30 – Consistent
Female 60-70 – Not Consistent

Conclusion

None of these entries are wholly consistent with expectations, so I believe that either Nelson and Mercy were missed in the 1840 Census or they were enumerated in another household. Next, I’ll look closely at the various Joel Barnes in the 1850 Census.


Endnotes:

20. Nelson Barnes (1816-1884)
– – – * Nelson Barnes – Civil War Veteran?
– – – * Memories of Martha Barnes Conner – Nelson Barnes and Mercy Eliza Taft
21. Mercy Eliza Taft (1822-1884)
– – – * Surname Saturday – Taft

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