Elkanah Walter & the Early Censuses

Census Sunday
Darling-Swayze-Walter Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.[As I began my research of the life of 5th Great-grandmother Margaret Swann, I saw I knew virtually nothing about her life. One of my goals with ancestor sketches is to follow the individual through all the censuses. Early census records are always tricky, and following women is challenging as it requires following the men in their life. Margaret was born about 1754, the daughter of Samuel Swann. She married James Walter “after the war” (Revolutionary) and died in 1826. James died after Margaret, so I would expect Margaret to have been enumerated by sex and age in James’ household. Unfortunately, I have not found James in any census records. My next step is to try to follow the children of James and Margaret. Hopefully, documents from their lives will shed some light on my research of James and Margaret.]

James and Margaret Ann (Swan) Walter had six (or seven) children.

  1. Nancy Anne Walter was born in 1788.
  2. Elkanah Walter was born in 1789. He died in 1852.
  3. Catherine Ann Dent Walter was born on 15 Jun 1794. She married David Swayze on 30 Jan 1817 in Fairfield County, Ohio. She died on 16 Apr 1868 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at her daughter’s residence.
  4. James C Walter was born in 1800; he died in 1874.
  5. Elizabeth Walter was born in 1796.
  6. John Walter was born before 05 Jan 1804.
  7. There may be another son, Martin Walter, born in 1779, but he may be the child of another wife.

Elkanah is an unusual name, so I thought I’d take a look at his life first. Also, he was the oldest male child, so he might have more available records. I found he is buried at the Mountain Home Cemetery in Kalamazoo, Michigan[i].

1850 Census[ii]

Elkanah died in 1852, so the 1850 Census was a good place for me to begin. He is found in Kalamazoo Village, Kalamazoo County, Michigan. His household consisted of:

Name                           Age            Occup.      Property    Born

    • Elkanah Walters        61     M      None         $3,000      Va
    • Rachael                         59     F                                                “
    • Caroline Strong          26     F                                               O
    • Charles     “                 2/12  M                                              Mich

Although the 1850 Census does not include relationships, it is clear that the family consists of Elkanah, his wife Rachael, his daughter Caroline, and her son, Charles.

1840 Census[iii]

In 1840, Elkanah’s family should consist of:

  • Elkanah – Age 51
  • Rachel – Age 50
  • Catherine – Age 10
  • Margrate – Age 11
  • Adaline – Age 16
  • Caroline – Age 18
  • James – Age 20
  • Harvy – Age 22
1840 Census – Elkanah Walters – Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, Michigan

– – – – 1 – – 1  ||  – 1 2 – – – – 1

Males

  • 20-30      1     (Either James or Harvy)
  • 50-60      1     Elkanah

Females

  • 5-10        1     Catherine
  • 10-15      2     Probably Margrate & Adaline
  • 50-60      1     Rachel

Either James or Harvy, ages 20 & 22, appear to have left home by 1840
Caroline  – Age 18, appears to have left as well (probably married).

1830 Census

In 1830, Elkanah’s family should consist of

    • Elkanah – Age 41
    • Rachel – Age 40
    • Catherine – Age 0
    • Margrate – Age 1
    • Adaline – Age 6
    • Caroline – Age 8
    • James – Age 10
    • Harvy – Age 12
1830 Census – Elkanah Walters – Rushville, Fairfield, Ohio

– 1 1 – 1 – 1 || 1 2 – – – 1

Age    Male Female

    • <5        0       1       Presumed to be Margrate (age 1)
    • 5-10    1       2       Presumed to be son, James, & daughters, Caroline & Adaline.
    • 10-15  1        0       Presumed to be Harvey (Age 12)
    • 15-20 0       0
    • 20-30 1       0       Unknown male, born 1799-1810 (might James C Walter)
    • 30-40 0       1       Rachael (age 40)
    • 40-50 1       0       Elkanah (age 41)

Catherine hadn’t been born yet.

1820 Census

In 1820, Elkanah’s family should consist of

  • Elkanah – Age 31
  • Rachel – Age 20
  • James – Age 0
  • Harvey – Age 2

And the family should be living in Fairfield County, Ohio.

My search for Elkanah found “Elkana” in Richland, Fairfield County, Ohio. His entry has no last name, so it was assumed by the indexer to be the same surname as the person above, “Warner.”

1820 Census – Elkanah [Walters] – Richland, Fairfield, Ohio
2 – – 1 – – || – – – 1 –  1 in Ag.

 Males

    • Under 10         2          James & Harvey, ages 0 and 2
    • Age 16-26        1          Elkana (should be 31) mistaken entry?

Females

    • Age 26-45        1          Rachel (age 30)

Because of the possible mistaken entry, I find this to be tentative and speculative. The five people on each side of Elkana in the 1820 Census are:

    • Wm Lovill, George Tester, Solomon Lenvale, [Page] Wm Mark, James Warner
    • Jonathan Palmer, James Palmer, Levi Roberts, John Price, & Thomas Lina 

The five people on each side of Elkana in the 1830 Census are:

    • John Sulivan, Edward Murphy, Edward Cruze, Paul Cummings, & Henrietta Swayze
    • John Rutherford, Jacob Drum, Mary Blake, William Marsh, & William Sager

With none of the likely neighbors being the same and his age being incorrect, I suspect this is a different Elkana. 

1810

Find-a-Grave indicates that Elkanah emigrated to Ohio in October 1815, settling ten miles from Lancaster in Fairfield County[iv]. If true, I would not expect Elkanah to be in Ohio during the 1810 Census. Rather, he would be in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington DC. Also, his only being 21 years old in 1810 suggests he is likely counted in his father’s record.

Conclusion

I’ve followed Elkanah from the East to Ohio and westward again to Michigan. I have not seen any evidence that his parents lived with him.

This research provided one new source, six new citations, seven images, and six new individuals that were added to my tree.

Follow-up

Next: Look at James C. Walker’s Census records and see if I can follow him through time.

Review Gateway families: Ancestors and descendants of Richard Simrall Hawes III and Marie Christy Johnson by Christy Hawes Bond & Alicia Crane Williams.

Endnotes:

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